Posts Tagged ‘Patience’

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Philadelphia punks Mannequin Pussy’s made their best album yet with 2019’s Patience. They’ve hinted that their fourth is done now, too, tweeting that the new songs include “1 classic MP song. 1 pop song. 1 sad bitch bedroom song. 1 happy slut bad-bitch song. 1 Bear song. These songs make up our collective feelings over this stupid fucking year.” Producer Will Yip calls them “bonkers,” which has us all the more excited.

The cover art of Mannequin Pussy’s third album, “Patience”, is an apt illustration of what you’re about to hear. An old-school globe is aflame, setting the scene for the Philly punk band’s strongest effort to date—as well as one of the best (and most cathartic) punk albums of the year. The artwork springs to life especially on one of the record’s most delicate and simultaneously powerful tracks, “High Horse.” Vocalist/guitarist Marisa Dabice reaches into a crescendo while she belts, “Your world’s on fire, as I watch up from my high horse / Your world’s on fire, and I walk away.” The climactic moment in which Dabice exits an abusive relationship epitomizes the immense strength fueling Patience, and acts as a prelude of sorts to the message that supplies the project’s lifeblood: You are enough. “Who You Are” echoes that same sentiment, exploring how to quiet your inner critic (and how to say “screw you” to the systems that put this critic in your head in the first place). Unlearning harmful thought patterns is a challenge, but can ultimately set you free. Patienceis all about chasing that freedom—and more importantly, being patient with yourself in the process.

“High Horse” by Mannequin Pussy from the album ‘Patience,’ available now

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Patience is the name for the personal pop project of Roxanne Clifford, singer for the adored early 2010s band Veronica Falls. Clifford possesses one of those singing voices that will echo and linger in your head long after the record is done, which fits these songs well, considering how much they resemble the dance-party-life we each imagine for ourselves. This is lush synthpop that speaks to unrealized dreams and long-held secrets. The melodies and grooves carry within them a general sense of unfulfillment and a simultaneous, perhaps contradictory, unbridled joy.

Clifford’s imagery perfectly nailing that nagging regret that haunts every new adventure. With the first appearance of a guitar hook in a Patience song, it’s a classic pop moment enunciated perfectly by Clifford’s instantly recognizable vocal.

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Philadelphia punks Mannequin Pussy are on a roll. Both their 2014 debut GP and 2016’s Romantic clocked in at less than 20 minutes but brought a spirited thrust of punk that didn’t put them on a pedestal or skimp on bursts of melodic pop bliss. Their third album Patience doesn’t ditch the snappy punk that makes them so vehement, but it does find the band wielding hooks and more traditional song structures to an extent they haven’t before. Their new album has a whopping 26-minute run time, and lead singer Marisa Dabice has a lot to say—whether it’s fighting against self-hatred, coming to terms with the reality of an abusive relationship or resisting the urge to compare herself to others. With producer/engineer Will Yip (Quicksand, The Menzingers) on board, Mannequin Pussy attempt to balance their vigorous, zippy punk spurts with peppy moments of pop/rock immediacy, and they do it to a T.

In an era when rage and frustration are status quo, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear Philadelphia punks Mannequin Pussy traverse new territory on Patience. While singer/guitarist Marisa Dabice confronts some of life’s darkest demons—abuse, greed, and heartbreak—the band’s usual storm of dense, guitar-driven rock retains its shimmer. Slashing riffs are offset by the appearance of dreamy, atmospheric guitars, and Dabice’s voice swings from furious roar (“Cream”) to something softer and almost romantic (“High Horse”). It’s a complex journey—an album rooted in recovery instead of anger, and a reminder that even the deepest cut can eventually heal.

“Drunk II” by Mannequin Pussy from the album ‘Patience,’ available June 21st


Eight tracks into Patience’s debut synth-pop LP, Dizzy Spells, singer/producer Roxanne Clifford is suddenly joined by a second voice, one that complements her airy choruses and misty-eyed melodies with cloudy French phrases. Fans of Clifford’s former band, Veronica Falls, may recognize the guest’s name if they take a look at the liner notes: Marion Herbain, who was the former Veronica Falls bassist. While the band essentially ceased to exist in 2014—when their social media accounts went silent—the two stayed in touch and are still very close friends.

“She has a great voice,” says Clifford. “I intend to persuade her to sing more songs with me, and hope she’ll join me on tour in the U.K. this June.”

There’s a reason for this. Unlike other projects that start in a home studio and get lost in translation onstage, Patience’s shows aren’t limited to a laptop and a mic stand. They’re an ever-evolving affair, involving a reel-to-reel player, live synths, and clean guitar chords, and often rounded out by guests who can help bring Clifford’s layered harmonies and head-circling hooks to life. Smoke machines, proper lighting, and a decent sound system certainly don’t hurt, either.

“Having a couple friends sing backup with me is wonderful,” says Clifford. “It adds to the energy of the show, sounds great, and I have people to dance with.”

Therein lies the contradiction with Patience. Though it’s her face and hers alone on the album cover, Clifford isn’t looking to hide out solo in a bedroom, surrounded by drum machines, keyboards, and samplers. She misses “the gang mentality of being in a band and the confidence that brings,” as well as the immediacy of being able to just pick up a guitar and play.

“I long for the magical organic excitement that comes from playing in a fully live band,” she admits. “When it comes together, it’s a feeling I can’t really get any other way. But I also don’t feel ready to recruit band members or start hauling a backline around with me just yet.”

As for how she went from writing guitar-centric goth songs with Veronica Falls (“Beachy “Found Love in a Graveyard,” “Beachy Head”) to embracing the dancing-while-crying electronics of Patience, Clifford credits a simple Korg Micro Preset synth from the late ’70s. A key element in some of her favorite songs—including ones by OMD and the cult Belgian act Bernthøler—it provided the foundation for her early solo experiments, along with a Roland TR-505 drum machine. While it took her some time to create a compelling and cohesive vision with such “time-consuming and infuriating” equipment, Clifford found the creative process surrounding her new sonic palette liberating. Doubly so, given the time that passed between Veronica Falls’ last album (2013’s Waiting For Something to Happen) and Patience’s early singles (2016’s “The Church,” “The Pressure,” and 2017’s “White of an Eye”). Pursuing a new sound removed the weight of expectations from the equation. The trickiest part of putting Dizzy Spells together was technical obstacles—hangups indie rock acts don’t really have to deal with.

“It doesn’t feel hugely rewarding for me to get wrapped up in the nuances of an oscillator,” says Clifford. “Or to figure out how to program a sequencer properly; I’m too impatient. I usually have a very clear [idea] of how I want something to sound, yet getting to that point can be a different story.

She continues, “I’m learning more as I go, and it’s been important to have people help me with that side of things where possible. I’m also trying to embrace a more experimental approach to songwriting; letting happy accidents lead me somewhere new has felt freeing…. One element alone can be the tiny piece to make everything fit together in a pleasing way.”

And that’s what Dizzy Spells is: an avant-pop and Italo disco-inspired puzzle that fits together perfectly, despite being developed over several years and countless recording sessions. Clifford also worked with such welcome collaborators as U.K. garage icon Todd Edwards (see also: several Daft Punk singles), Free Love co-founder Lewis Cook, and engineer Misha Hering (Virginia Wing), although the end result is distinctly hers


“I chose the title Dizzy Spells because it suggests these disparate events acting as a whole,” she explains, “telling the story so far and mapping the ebbs and flows. There’s something special about that in and of itself, but I wanted the listening experience to feel immersive, the way an album should.”

Patience’s next round of material is poised to further their narrative, taking her “Gemini tendencies” to new heights without having to wait for the approval of other parties—especially since she now has her own label called Winona Records. Impromptu collabs may emerge on the imprint in the near future, but a Veronica Falls reunion is off the table after the passing of drummer Patrick Doyle last year. Forming another group with Herbain and former Veronica Falls guitarist James Hoare isn’t likely either, despite the creative spark they all share.

Patrick’s death hit us all very hard,” says Clifford. “It’s something that I am still coming to terms with. It’s impossible not to have a spiral of regrets in moments like this. But we’ve all tried to focus on the brilliant times we had together and how cherished they feel in retrospect…. Sharing the memory of someone helps to come to terms with the immense loss that you feel.”

Dizzy Spells will be available in the U.S.A. from Winona Records,

Patience – aka songwriter Roxanne Clifford may have begun as a solo refuge from the Manchester-born, LA-Resident’s band duties but White Of An Eye, her 3rd single, is a fully formed, dancing-with-a tear-in-your-eye, confident Pop Moment. The attempt at shedding memories to embrace the present, an ode to the moment. Like her previous two singles The Church and The Pressure, Lewis Cook of Happy Meals engineers Clifford’s vision to Jacno-esque synth pop perfection. Blooming with a tentative synth cadence and nonchalant spoken word introduction, White Of An Eye soon erupts into perfect disco melancholy, with Clifford’s imagery perfectly nailing that nagging regret that haunts every new adventure. With the first appearance of a guitar hook in a Patience song, it’s a classic pop moment enunciated perfectly by Clifford’s instantly recognizable vocal.

“Melted skies, horizon lines are floating overhead” Blue Sparks Is a nocturne peppered with impressionistic imagery, romantic and doomed. Minimalist and affecting, here Patience is simply two synth lines and Clifford’s vocal. It’s Patience’s version of a Berntholer-style sadness, even evoking a Yazoo ballad. Like a Johnny Jewel production injected with passion, Patience captures the spark between two human hearts, the elusive, indefinable chemistry of sleepless, endless nights.


The third single from Roxanne Clifford’s Patience sees her moving further into New Order territory in her post Veronica Falls songwriting. If John Hughes were still making high school dramas this song would surely be playing as the protagonists walked into the gymnasium for prom.

Listen to The Invisible’s new album, Patience, and what you will feel most strongly is the band’s sense of “joy and gratitude for being alive.” The experiences of Dave Okumu (guitar, vocals), Tom Herbert (bass & synthesizer) and Leo Taylor (drums) since the release of their last album, Rispah, both individually and collectively, mean that the group “have gained a deeper understanding of the value of life,” and a mission to communicate that to the listener. On Patience, they achieve these aims with a kind of effortless transcendence.

From the opening bars of the wonderful “So Well”, (featuring their friend and collaborator Jessie Ware), the feeling of joy pervades the record. Although the group have worked on this record with Anna Calvi, Rosie Lowe, Connan Mockasin and Sam Shepherd (Floating Points) as well as Ware, the sense of collective excitement and pleasure in music-making is what holds sway. It’s an album which hints towards the London soul of Ware, but combines it with the experimentation of the LA beat scene (where Dave Okumu went to write many of the songs) and the raw funk of D’Angelo.

Everyone of course knows just what wonderful musicians The Invisible are. They’ve played with just about everyone from Adele to St Vincent, Grace Jones, Britten Sinfonia, Jack DeJohnette, Roots Manuva, Jamie Woon, Hot Chip, Zongamin, Gramme, Yoko Ono, Beck and many others. In addition, Okumu has produced Jessie Ware, Anna Calvi, Paloma Faith, Kwabs, Lilly Wood, Eska and Rosie Lowe and was the recent Musical Director for the acclaimed Gil Scott-Heron Project: Pieces of a Man project as part of the Convergence Festival at London’s Roundhouse.

What’s easier to forget in between albums is just what beautiful, life-affirming music they make. Shortly before the release of Rispah (itself a heartfelt tribute to Okumu’s dead mother), Okumu was electrocuted while playing with the band onstage in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s possible that only the intervention of Herbert, who pulled his guitar off him, saved his life. This personal sense that the band have of deliverance has lead to Patience, not least their sense that they are “the luckiest men alive.”


Joyous without losing any of its intelligence or compositional rigour, the record takes its title from an unfashionable but profound idea — that, if we want to solve problems we have to be prepared to work and to wait rather than expecting instant results. It was an idea clarified when Dave found himself playing in Paris only a week after the gun attacks which ripped through the city on November 13th 2015. On his way home he read an interview with the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in which he talked about a realisation that could only have come to him in space: “What started seeping into me on…seeing all the ancient scars, was the incredible temporal patience of the world.”

The Invisible’s first album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, their second was described as “incredibly uplifting and moving” (Vice), but it’s Patience (as you’d expect, if you understand that good things come to those who wait) that stands—so far!—as the uplifting pinnacle of their remarkable career.

With the bittersweet stream of melancholy trickling through the half speed drum machine, Patience – aka Roxanne Clifford’s – plaintive appraisal of life’s turmoil, a period spent changing, aches across the ages. With The Pressure, Clifford’s songwriting continues to soar into new territories and textures, here providing irresistible Italo-disco hooks with a classic cry/dance backbone. The Pressure takes Patience’s crystalline synth-pop further into the dry-iced corners of a club in 1983.. though here Clifford has managed to marry a cold production, aided as before by Happy Meals’ Lewis Cook’s engineering, with the inherent sweetness in her vocal. The Pressure never relents, with pulsating waves of harmony and crisp snare cracks building like the greatest early Mute Records 7” they never released, an ode to relationships and the craziness they inflict on us.

Patience, aka Roxanne Clifford of Veronica Falls fame, released her debut single, The Church, earlier this year, and it not only almost instantly sold out, it also received near unanimous acclaim and an unstoppable wave of hype. That it was very good helped of course, as is her second single, The Pressure, which she shared earlier this week.

The Pressure takes the listener back to the hey-day of synth-pop, pitched somewhere between the electronica of The Human League and the indie-pop of The Pastels. In the best way possible The Pressure sounds a bit like a soundtrack to a 1980’s documentary about the future, all icy electronic production and sweet, multi-layered vocals; its triumphantly walks the line of harmony and other worldliness. Patience remains a virtue as we await details of a full length release, but by the time it does come round to being released, the wave of hype might just be deservedly unstoppable.

The Pressure is out September 30th via Night School Records.

Patience is an alias of Roxanne Clifford, a songwriter of repute most recently fronting Veronica Falls. With Patience, Clifford has broken the band-shackles, jettisoned other voices and mainlines a sweetened melodic nous recognisable from her other work, though this time over an impeccable synth pop production. These recordings were waxed with the assistance of Lewis Cook of Glasgow band Happy Meals at Full Ashram Celestial Gardens, Glasgow and Sam Pillay of Virginia Wing at VW House, with Don Pyle on mixing duties.

Clifford’s voice cuts straight to the heart, a tale of late nights, the dance of guilt and ecstasy. Lyrically, we’re rooted at the spot where the church once stood but the Patient heart waits elsewhere, in the dry mists of dreams. B-side My Own Invention is nominally a ballad, a minimal composition that with the sampled vocal harmonies references Laurie Anderson but with a heart-warming melodic line. It’s a simple, nursery-rhyme mini-drama that is effortlessly breezy and a wonderfully sweet partner to dancing with tears in your eyes A-side.

Roxanne Clifford once fronted dingy twee outfit Veronica Falls. If the emergence of her solo project means VF is well and truly over, we’d be rightfully bummed — but who can feel sad when Patience can make it all feel so good? “The Church” wraps Clifford’s glassy vocals and outsize drum hits in a warm blanket of retro synths. The result is precious, disillusioned melancholy, kissing cousins to Frankie Cosmos’ heartfelt bedroom pop or Casket Girls’ sleepy fatalism.