Patience is likely the entry point for many listeners to Mannequin Pussy, but is in fact the Philadelphia-based band’s third album. In listening to the relatively glossy sound of Patience, it’s important to note that this is a second phase for the band: they’ve moved to Epitaph, worked with renowned producer Will Yip and written songs that push past the 4-minute mark for the first time ever – but their early years as an act coming out of the hardcore scene, making lo-fi recordings of scrappy material is still an essential building block here.

The main connective tissue back to their roots are Marisa Dabice’s lyrics. She came up in a scene where honesty in expression was of the highest value, even if that meant plenty of self-scorn and uncomfortable confessions. On Patience this still holds true; just because the band’s overall songwriting is much stronger and the production much cleaner, it doesn’t mean the tales told in Dabice’s songs aren’t frequently just as messy and regrettable – what it means is that Mannequin Pussy’s now bigger and better sound now makes her words all the heavier.

This is immediately apparent on Patience’s opening title track, a nimble rocker with interwoven guitar lines announcing the significant upgrade in production, leading to a knock-down drag-out chorus revealing Mannequin Pussy’s beefed-up band dynamics. Along with this comes Dabice’s breathless tale of inescapable emotional abuse. If that wasn’t already a dizzying opening, Patience’s smooth segue into ‘Drunk II’, the album’s inflammatory lead single, will leave you grasping for the nearest solid object to ground yourself.

A polished mission statement for Mannequin Pussy 2.0’s ambition, ‘Drunk II’ is undoubtedly one of the songs of the year, bruised shoegaze propelling Dabice’s rasping and barbed confessional. Lost in the depths of a decimating break-up, she drags us through her nights of drunkenness and desperate phone calls to her ex, but then there’s the flip side, where she exposes her dejection clearly: “And everyone says to me “Missy you’re so strong!”/ But what if I don’t want to be?” The band decelerates to a smoother, caressing tone, deepening the connection to our drowning singer as she repeats “I push it down/ I drink to drown/ I am alone.”

Any older fans missing the gritted-teeth no-fucks-given punk of their previous output should be sated by the following track ‘Cream’, a blasting knuckle duster that finds Dabice screaming from inside her own hell without a shred of self-compassion. Elsewhere there’s ‘Drunk I’, the immature younger brother of the previously mentioned single, which approaches the same break-up but in a sub 1-minute torrent of pure, spitting hatred.

Those briefer, angrier songs are undoubtedly fun – but they feel more like moments of letting off steam amidst gargantuan moments of profound self-reflection that come in the more expansive songs. ‘Fear/+/Desire’ is such a quiet and subtle track, and falling as it does between the aforementioned punk songs, at first doesn’t quite register. However, proper attention given to ‘Fear/+/Desire’ reveals Mannequin Pussy’s most honest and harrowing song yet, in which Dabice details a physically abusive relationship in uncompromising terms. She doesn’t hold back on providing horrifying imagery, and there is certainly hatred directed at the person, but she doesn’t lay the blame entirely at their feet, accepting her own culpability in the fucked up back-and-forth. Musically, Mannequin Pussy show off a new-found nuance and detailed understanding that backs up this intricate situation perfectly, spinning the threads of guitar so beautifully that you can mistake the song for romantic, before you’re knocked back to earth by the painful reality of the situation.

They do it again on ‘High Horse’, which further examines an unsettling and abusive relationship, their slow pace matching Dabice’s hesitant, indecisive mind set. But this time Dabice pulls through and ends with the upper hand, walking away, and Mannequin Pussy push the track to dramatic and powerful heights to reflect that.

With those pieces of excoriating honesty out of the way, Mannequin Pussy finish off Patience with a bit more lightheartedness. ‘Who You Are’ is a comradely kick up the backside for a friend in the dumps, an earnest outpouring of affection and emotional support which matches their power-pop-punk style to perfection. ‘Clams’ and ‘F.U.C.A.W.’ revert back to the short-and-sharp post-hardcore style, both allowing Dabice to take on a more aggressive persona, in the former demanding payment for some unnamed act and in the latter swiping and punching her way through any who would disrespect her.

It all ends with ‘In Love Again’, a fresh-spring of new hope, and with it comes the first and only use of piano on the record, a splash of colour perfectly capturing the promise of the future in Mannequin Pussy’s mind. And you can’t begrudge Dabice that, especially after all the trials she’s outlined through Patience; there’s enough stuffed into the record to make you do a double take when you read that it’s only 26 minutes long – but all that means is that you’ve got enough time to spin it again.