Fresh Stream, Music

Mannequin Pussy – Perfect

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Mannequin Pussy’s latest release Perfect is short, sweet, and fun. According to the band, they took only two prewritten songs to the recording sessions and wrote the rest of the EP during their time in the studio. With help from producer Will Yip, Mannequin Pussy’s fourth record is a catchy and melodic blend of hardcore and pop-punk.

In its 13 minutes we experience Mannequin Pussy at their best, intermixing energetic punk with gentle vulnerability. The opening track “Control” is a perfect example of this. It pulls you in slowly with singer and guitarist Missy Dabice’s distant vocals over muted guitar. In her self-serenade she quietly sings, “I’m in control / at least that’s what I tell myself / when all the walls around me close in.” Kaleen Reading’s drums and Colins “Bear” Regisford on bass kick in a minute into the song and Missy’s gentle musings instantly transform into insistent screams. But once again they bring it back down, seamlessly blending the intensity of Reading’s drumming with the softness of Dabice’s whispers. 

Perfect jerks you around with exciting highs and tender lows. On the dynamic track, “To Lose You,” Dabice explores her fears, singing, “and I’m not scared / Oh I’m terrified of what happens next.” Her worry builds until she asks, “What can I say to lose you?” The song’s upbeat drums and jangly percussion contrast with its lyrics, conveying feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. 

“Pigs is Pigs” and “Perfect” are a throwback to Mannequin Pussy’s earlier ablums. They’re super short and fast but both are standout tracks. “Perfect” is a minute and 23 seconds of punk chaos. Over the feedback from her guitar Dabice screams, “Oh don’t you think I’m perfect, the way I dance for you?” 

Dabice’s vocals are a big part of why Mannequin Pussy is so good. She puts herself into the song completely and unabashedly screams or laughs while also being able to sing tenderly. “Pigs is Pigs” is the first and only track where Regisford sings lead vocals. While the departure from the rest of the album was surprising,  it’s one of the EP’s best tracks. Regisford’s screaming and the intense drums force you to listen to him say, “Don’t wanna be lost in the noise / don’t wanna be caught in the void.” The song’s title and lyrics are a clear reference to police brutality and terrorism against black communities. Regisford expresses his anger and grief over the loud guitar and crashing of the drums while Dabice slightly echos him. He’s “losing sleep and keeping names / and nothing seems to change.”

The EP’s final song “Darling” is a slow ballad. It’s a big shift from the rest of the album but we experience Dabice at her most vulnerable. She slowly sings, “Darling, I will always defend you.” A Xylophone-sounding instrument enters to take the melody while a guitar plays gently throughout the song, giving the song a slightly ominous tone. 

Mannequin Pussy’s Perfect is reminiscent of their previous record Patience. Both records are full of passion and angst. Perfect entices you with “Control” as the opening and satisfies with two short punk tracks “Perfect” and “Pigs is Pigs.” From listening to this record, it’s clear Mannequin Pussy had fun writing and recording it. Their passion and energy is contagious and, for that, Perfect definitely deserves a listen. 

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