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Never Give Up
For those about to rock, Partner salutes you. The band has been releasing fun, riff laden hits since their debut album In Search Of Lost Time dropped in 2017 and has seen quite a lot of success in the intervening years. The duo, made up of Josée Caron and Lucy Niles, quickly outgrew their humble beginnings in Sackville, New Brunswick and have since been nominated for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, toured all over and, quite literally, seen a million faces and rocked them all. Their new album Never Give Up is an ode to friendship, creativity and above all else an homage to the power of Rock N Roll.
The pair use their innate sense of humour to highlight their absolutely monstrous ability to shred and while the record jumps around genres it all comes across cohesively, as the personalities of these two artists are able to transcend any type of musical stylings. Recorded by Steve Chaley with drummer Simone TB at Palace Sound in Toronto, Never Give Up is a front to back wall of riffs, with the occasional cowbell thrown in for good measure, that should leave your hands sore from constant air drumming and throwing devil horns.
Right off the top it becomes clear that Partner are in the business of having a good time while still actually being good. Lead track “Hello and Welcome” is one of the most self-referential songs to come out in some time. It is quite literally a reintroduction to the band and, if you’ve forgotten, that you are right now listening to their new record. It’s silly but it’s not stupid. A big bass breakdown segues into a shred-a-thon of a middle eight, all huge double time drumming and the kind of guitar soloing that will make your fingers bleed just listening to it. The riffage continues with “Rock Is My Rock” which tells the tale of Caron and Niles‘ history and love affair with Rock n Roll and it’s as sweetly sincere as it is funny. The band tends to use humour more often than most artists these days and, to be honest, it is refreshing. Not only does the band seem to really understand exactly what they want to do, they approach the proceedings with such aplomb that it all ends up pretty endearing. Caron and Niles are both very uniquely talented musicians, both absolutely wonderful guitar players and singers and their vocal harmonies have the ability to hit you in the exact right spot each and every time. There’s the light psychedelia of “The Pit” and its hypnotic, flanged out guitars. “Honey” kicks off with a delightful cowbell keeping time before it explodes into a huge guitar symphony. “Good Place To Hide (At The Time)” has a very distinctly 90s East Coast indie vibe mixed with some Cheap Trick-esque vocal melodies. Partner show off their ability to jump between genres as easily as they can on album highlight “Couldn’t Forget” which starts off as a washed out, half time rock dirge and builds into a hyperactive electric country jam.
While it is only 29 minutes long, “Never Give Up” takes you on quite the journey. Partner don’t seem content to just churn out riff after riff, even though they are completely capable, they infuse their songs with a joyfulness that comes off absolutely sincere. Here are two friends, musical partners in the world, doing what they want to do, without any shred of insecurity. The riffs are as huge as their personalities which come across crystal clear throughout the album. It’s perfectly evidenced on “Here I Am World” when the pair beautifully intone, “Here I Am World/What Do You Want From Me?”, which could be construed as an actual question or as a statement. This is what Partner does, it’s big, bold and brash and, quite honestly, what more could you want?
Pre-order Never Give Up by Partner here