Album Review: Mannequin Pussy – Romantic

The combination of punk rock with melodic and pop elements is, as anyone with the most basic knowledge of music knows, not a new idea. Yet on ‘Romantic’, Mannequin Pussy manage to make it sound almost like it is.

Important in both these styles is sounding sharp and punchy, and part of the appeal of ‘Romantic’ is that it succeeds in this: ‘Romantic’ clocks in at just over 17 minutes, ridiculously short for a supposed full-length. But it doesn’t need to be any longer, because it makes for a satisfying listen despite its short run-time.

The album shifts styles between the frenetic riot grrrl like ‘Ten’ and ‘Meatslave One’, to more overtly pop-influenced songs ‘Emotional High’ and ‘Denial’. The latter channeling the surfy indie-punk of bands like Beach Slang, but in a more streamlined way.

Romantic by MANNEQUIN PUSSY

Opener ‘Kiss’ satisfyingly combines both styles providing a suitable introduction for the record. Further experiments come with the noise-rock influenced ‘Pledge’, which brings the kind of aggression that’s present on the punkier tracks but at half-speed.

Despite shifting between different styles, transitions are never jarring and ‘Romantic’ succeeds as a singular piece of work. Mannequin Pussy sound a lot more focused than they did on their debut album ‘GP’. The punk is angrier, the pop is tighter and while there’s experimentation, there’s nothing as out-there as a foray into black metal riffing seen on ‘GP’. This makes this release sound more like the finished article rather than just less adventurous – after all, stuffing too many ideas into a 17-minute album would make for an exhausting listen.

‘Romantic’ is an accomplishment for Mannequin Pussy, a step up from their previous work, and an album that manages to be fun and accessible while still remaining uncompromisingly fast and heavy.

4/5

‘Romantic’ by Mannequin Pussy is released on October 28th on Tiny Engines.

Mannequin Pussy links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)

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