Reviews Mannequin Pussy Gypsy Pervert

Mannequin Pussy

Gypsy Pervert

It’s kind of remarkable how vaguely similar the debut album by Philadelphia’s Mannequin Pussy is to that of another of 2014’s breakout artists, Perfect Pussy. Both these similarly-named, female-fronted bands utilize rough sound production to create a listening experience that’s raw, ragged, and jarring, but while Perfect Pussy’s churning Say Yes to Love almost borders on being unlistenable (at least in the minds of many people) due to the way in which it embraces noise and utter chaos over conventional songwriting, Mannequin Pussy’s Gypsy Pervert, lean and mean at just twenty minutes in length, has a more prominent sense of melody due to the vocal performance of Marisa Dabice. Even at its most screamy, Dabice’s voice ensure that there’s a solid central musical element in the midst of all the distortion and attitude featured on the album.

Careening forward with reckless abandon and sounding like surf punk at its most aggressive and noisy, out of control opening track “Sneaky” nicely sets the tone for the rest of the album. Dabice positively shreds on the guitar while screeching out lyrics or letting loose with rhythmic heavy breathing that gives the track a sometimes overwhelming raunchiness. Afterward, “My Baby (Axe Nice)” is structured like a sweet and innocent ‘60s pop song and the more nasty “Clue Juice” lurches along to a thunderous wall of guitar. Despite having a name that some might take offense to, the mostly instrumental “Clit Eastwood” may be one of the most innocuous track here and features a wailing, heartfelt vocal at its center. In the middle of a noise punk record, the powerful, shoegazey “Someone Like You” works surprisingly well; it’s also another track here that shows Dabice’s versatility as a singer.

The second half of the album alternates between delivering rowdy, violent punk rock and songs that seem more indebted to ‘90s grunge of the Hole variety. “Terror No” chugs along to gnarly guitar work and snotty, doubled-up vocals, while the sludgy subsequent track “Meat Slave 2,” one of the more lengthy here with a run time of three and a half minutes, would be my choice as the most radio-friendly. Just in case a listener would have thought the band was going soft after delivering its most conventional and I daresay even hopeful track, “Meat Slave 3” takes things back into more downbeat sonic territory before 90 second “Sheet City” unleashes another agreeable bit of upbeat and noisy bubblegum pop. Frequently overrun with crashing cymbals provided by drummer Kaleen Reading, the more deliberate“Pissdrinker” closes the eclectic and somewhat baffling album with a demented love song that contains some of Dabice’s most eye-opening and bizarre lyrical stanzas.

As excited as the music industry got earlier this year when Say Yes to Love dropped, it seems to me like the better Pussy is of the Mannequin variety. Gypsy Pervert is significantly more musically satisfying than the noise punk classification might suggest, and has a surprising number of catchy tunes. The album also seems to incorporate elements from a rather disparate and intriguing array of genres, and considering that the vast majority of the tracks here are under two minutes, this fact alone is pretty amazing. I very much liked the fact that tunes here range from being warm and sugary to downright abrasive and I’d have to label this as one of the best releases of the year. Highly recommended.

9.0 / 10Andy
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