Somewhere along the way, Philadelphia become the home to many feats in history. Independence Hall, the cracked Liberty Bell, Mannequin Pussy, and the Quakers. The stepping moments in history form together as the backbone of Philadelphia’s tight, and efficient history.
In no particular order of importance, Mannequin Pussy stays the creative instance of an energetic time bomb that blasts with the strength of destructible waves. Their 2016 release, Romantic is difficult to process within the first few listens. There are moments where Mannequin Pussy is so raw, overpowering, and moving that the vocals are shouted behind feedback-ridden microphones and waves of aggression. At others, Mannequin Pussy stays gentle and almost lovingly tender amidst the chaos.
The band has four standing power house members, but the frontwoman Marisa Dabice is so incredibly genuine behind her style and original that it makes the band stand out in a sea of punk rock. The crashing cymbal work by Kaleen Reading on percussion follows this antic of being the heaviest and hardest hitting both figuratively and literally. Bear Regisford and Thanasi Paul make up the string section along side Dabice, forming this obliterating movement of a quad-armed beast.
Romantic holds some of the love for the older days of hardcore punk where the objective was to get in and create this tension between the audience and performers. It has a real sense of danger on the opening track, “Kiss” where the band is a frantic conglomerate of smashing sound and emotion. While only one-minute long, Mannequin Pussy decides to smash the room to pieces with an overpowering yell. It invokes the earliest sense of raw power and takes Mannequin Pussy into the self titled ballad of “Romantic” that is slightly easier on the ears and more approachable as a second tune.
Dancing to a slightly different beat but with a similar sound, “Romantic” is instead a love-sick sense of despair as Dabice explains over the dimly-lit strings and percussion, “Darling, you’ll come back to me I know you will. Oh but darling if you don’t, how sad to see this go.” The song takes a strong page in the poetry books before leaping in with a suddenly more abrasive jump into “Ten”.
Romanticis a short lived 17-minutes of pure, unfiltered entertainment. Where the structure is set, then instantly pulverized and resurrected to fit Mannequin Pussy’s way. Romantic instills those outstanding moments of just how powerful music can be as a mood-setting device and how fun it can be to destroy what’s in your way.