By The Book, by Partner Look
A happy accident forged from longstanding musical and personal relationships, the debut album from Naarm/Melbourne 4 piece Partner Look is an irreverent and memorable trip through sparkling pop jangle, new wave-inspired rhythms and more than a few equine references.
A mini-supergroup comprising members of Cool Sounds, Studio Magic and Ocean Party, Partner Look (a German phrase for couples whose dress are similar) are sisters Ambrin and Anila Hasnain, and are joined by their partners Dainis Lacey and Lachlan Denton.
Lead single Rodeo Tragic is the new horse-themed anthem we all needed and welcome kooky fun. While it hinted that this may have been heading towards novelty territory, there is much more on offer here across the 12 short and sweet songs. And the performance and production on this are both excellent, as it moves between hazy slower jams and moments of dramatic musicality. Vocal duties are shared throughout.
The whole LP feels distinctly summery, like a holiday travelogue, and all the more impressive as it came together via the now well-known process of the Covid-era album: recorded in a home studio during brief windows during Melbourne’s lockdown. Tom Tom Club never had to go through this.
Lyrically this dodges between songs that are tender and whimsical, but also direct poignance “…through the songs, through the music, we don’t have to be strong.” It bubbles throughout with a cathartic and sincere joy that become infectious on multiple listens.
Highlights are aplenty, and include the low slung groove and percussion of Diamonds, the Bush Tetras-esque ” Speed Limit”, and the the taught but steadily uplifting melodies of Grasshopper (a reminder to look around and down sometime).
Special mention should also go to the pacing of the album: You’re not even sure where you’re it’s taken you but that’s ok, and by the time you get to the beautifully delivered finale, Open Plains, you know you’re home.
It’s an escape, it’s brilliant and well worth the ride.
Out now on Vinyl and Digital via Spunk / Trouble In Mind.