In Search of Lost Time isn’t the first music released by Canadian rock outfit Partner. They’ve released multiple excellent singles (i.e., “The Ellen Page” and “Personal Weekend”), and founding members Josee Caron (vocals and lead guitar) Lucy Niles (vocals and rhythm guitar), and Kevin Brasier (bass) already had Canadian indie rock scene credentials with their former bands Mouthbreathers and Go Get Fucked (possibly the best band name ever). So it isn’t surprising that their first full-length record is witty, full of hooks, and one of the best pop-punk albums I’ve heard in a long while.
“Everybody Knows” starts the album with squealing, heavy guitar riffs and brings in a favorite subject of Partner’s – the goofy things that happen when one is high. Caron sings about freaking out in the grocery store while in a euphoric quest for chips. Niles sings about getting high while waiting for a friend and then realizing she can’t hide the fact that she “sparked another one” while waiting on the friend’s porch. Oh yeah, Caron’s guitar solo on this will leave you stunned.
Niles’ guitar on “Comfort Zone” (a song about the joys of slacking) reminds me of Television riffs. “Gross Secret,” with its sharp guitar work and dual vocals from Caron and Niles, reminds me of Sleater-Kinney if Sleater-Kinney would relax a bit now and then. “Angels from Ontario” is about a perfect pop-punk love song you’ll ever hear. The hooks and beat are instantly infectious and it bursts with enough energy to fill an opera house.
Caron reveals her love of shows like Judge Judy and The Maury Povich Show on “Daytime TV.” Niles sings about the dangers of snooping in your roommate’s room on “Sex Object.” “Ambassador to Ecstasy” is a solid rocker about trying to woo a hot girl and the possible complications that can come with such an endeavor.
“Play the Field” is a fun song about having a crush on a hot female athlete and contains what might be my favorite lyric of 2017 from Lucy Niles – “…to see you in your sports bra, though, just might change my life.” “You Don’t Have to Say Thank You” is, without question, the sexiest song on the record as Caron tells her lover she doesn’t have to thank her for an amazing night since “your pleasure is my delight.” Zowie! As if that weren’t enough to sell you on it, wait until you hear the wall-flattening guitars and drums (from Toronto indie rock drumming legend Simone TB).
“Creature in the Sun,” a song about the joys of mindfulness, might be my favorite cut on the record. It’s somewhere between new wave, post-punk, pop-punk, and spaghetti western music. I guarantee that if you hear this on the radio or in a wrecka stow, you will instantly stop and think, “Who is this?” The 1990’s alt-rock vibe is heavy on “Remember This,” which isn’t surprising when you consider the album was mixed by Chris Shaw who has worked with Weezer and Ween (among many others).
The closer, “Woman of Dreams,” has Caron and Niles pining for a lovely lady but realizing the best they can do about it (for now, at least) is write a song about her. It reminds me of Fountains of Wayne‘s harder tracks with its punchy hooks and clever lyrics.
I haven’t even mentioned the sketches, which include various goofy telephone conversations with photographers, Caron’s father, and others. I’ll let you discover those on your own.
This is one of those albums that will reveal new stuff to you every time you hear it – a drum fill, a wicked guitar lick, a funny lyric, etc. I don’t know if Partner will get back the time they’re searching for, but they didn’t waste any making this record. It won’t waste your time either.
Keep your mind open.
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