Album Reviews

Mannequin Pussy – I Got Heaven

(Epitaph) UK release date: 1 March 2024


The four-piece make thrillingly visceral music that is ferociously loud, yet full of hooks – alt-rock, brought bang up to date, that’s impossible to tear yourself away from

Mannequin Pussy - I Got Heaven Mannequin Pussy may have a band name that you could be particularly cautious about Googling (especially at work), but happily it doesn’t seem to have held them back. The Philadelphia four-piece formed back in 2010, and following several line-up changes, they’re now on their fourth album, a record which perfectly encapsulates their sound.

I Got Heaven is Missy Dabice and company’s best album yet – it’s ferociously loud, yet full of hooks. There’s elements of both pop and punk, yet it’s the furthest thing from pop-punk you can imagine. It’s like ’90s alt-rock, such as Hole or Garbage, brought bang up to date while refusing to compromise. This is an album, after all, where Dabice sings (or rather roars) the line “What if Jesus himself ate my fucking snatch” against the background of a rising tide of Christian conservatism in her home country. It’s an album it’s impossible to tear yourself away from.

Their refusal to adhere to classification pays dividends on I Got Heaven. Sometimes is a big soaring pop-rock anthem, maybe the band’s most commercial moment yet – and it’s followed by the exhilarating punky squall of OK? OK! OK? OK!, a hardcore duet between Dabice and bassist Colins Regisford, which you can almost sense the cathartic rage screeching out of the speaker on lines like “Fuck a future – I don’t see it”. Admittedly, the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics are nothing new in music, but Mannequin Pussy do them better than most.

There’s an air of steely defiance that runs through I Got Heaven – Loud Bark is a swaggering anthem-in-waiting for a new generation of women who are tired of being told what to do: “Not a single motherfucker who has tried to lock me up could get the collar round my neck” runs the opening line, before she tears into an extraordinarily throaty scream of “I got a loud bark, deep bite”.

The most pleasing thing about I Got Heaven is the band’s willingness to experiment – Nothing Like, with its hypnotic guitar riff and skittery beats, brings to mind the shoegazey drawl of My Bloody Valentine, while Nothing Like swoons like prime-era Mazzy Star, full of gently brushed drums and wistful vocals, always on the verge of exploding into noise, but always somehow holding back. That these ventures into new sonic terriotory sit perfectly comfortably next to the album’s second half of more traditional screamalong rock anthems – both Of Her and Aching are barely 90 seconds each, and you feel utterly exhausted by the time they screech to a halt – says much about Mannequin Pussy’s ability to evolve.

At just 30 minutes long, I Got Heaven never overstays its welcome, and by the time Dabice is howling that “nothing’s gonna change” on the closing Split Me Open, you want to go right back to the start. This is thrillingly visceral music that could bring Mannequin Pussy ever closer to crossover success.


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Mannequin Pussy – I Got Heaven