Where countless other bands take inspiration in heartbreak and loss, Partner find humor in the mundane, awkward situations of everyday life. These moments are everywhere on the Windsor, Ontario-based power-pop band's turbocharged skit-filled debut album In Search of Lost Time. Whether it's dropping your glasses in a used toilet of stranger's pee (and picking them up) like on "Gross Secret" or finding your roommate's dildo on "Sex Object," Partner's songwriting duo Josée Caron and Lucy Niles add enough levity and '90s alt-rock-inflected power-chords to laugh any embarrassment off.
"We're working on a new song called 'Big Gay Hands,'" laughs Caron over speakerphone. Niles interjects, "It came about because we were lying in bed together on tour wishing we were with our girlfriends instead. And they have big gay hands." For them, any funny observation—no matter how silly—is fair game for new music. Just take In Search of Lost Time standout "Ambassador To Ecstasy," a scorching guitar solo-heavy that we're premiering below that deals with something silly Caron said on a pretty great first date. After "feeling so high" from karaoke and sharing a smoke with her new date, Caron sings, "You know it sounded so gay/But I said it anyway/I'll be your ambassador to ecstasy." Like so many of their tracks ("Gross Secret" included), it's a true story.
When Caron and Niles take my call, the two of them are enjoying a couple hours off in Montreal, staying a friend's house before they have to drive to play a show at Winooski, VT's Monkey House. Funnily enough, the friend hosting them is who Caron sings on "Ambassador To Ecstasy" about going on a date with. "The person who the song is about is now a good friend of mine. We had a little romance when we first met and I felt comfortable saying to her, 'I'll be your ambassador to ecstasy.' When I told Lucy about it she thought it'd make a good song idea," explains Caron. She adds, "I was just being self-indulgent. I thought it was a funny thing to say and I thought it'd be well-received by the friend and thank god it was."
Though "Ambassador To Ecstasy" is just one example on an album full of catchy power-pop on In Search of Lost Time, it might be the biggest earworm. Caron's guitar theatrics would feel at home at a Diarrhea Planet Show while the chorus matches the best from their favorites Ween and Weezer. It's a testament to their obvious chemistry both as people and songwriters that the album has so much charm packed into its lean runtime. It's no surprise that their friendship and collaboration which started at the meal hall at a university in their New Brunswick home makes these songs feel like inside jokes that Caron and Niles are letting everyone in on.
"A new thing for us is actively trying to write songs while thinking about how people would receive them rather than just writing about our feelings," says Niles. It's a far-cry from their earlier bands, the hardcore group Go Get Fucked and an indie rock band the Mouthbreathers but one that feels like the best reflection of how much fun they're having together. "We're creating with an audience in mind now. Also really getting into Ween helped, making us feel free to make these songs inhabit this new world," says Caron.
September 7 - Peterborough, ON @ The Garnet
September 8 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern (record release party)
September 15 - Windsor, ON @ The Rondo
September 22 - Hamilton, ON @ This Ain't Hollywood
September 23 – Vankleek Hill, ON @ Oktober Fest
September 29 - Davenport, IA* @ Village Theatre*
September 30 - St. Louis, MO @ FOAM
October 1 - Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater*
October 3 - Palatine, IL @ Durty Nellies*
October 5 - Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon
October 16 – Montreal QC @ L-Esco
October 17 - Quebec City, QC @ Le Sous-Sol Du Circle
October 18 - St John, NB @ Callahan's
October 19 - Halifax, NS @ The Seahorse for Halifax Pop Explosion
October 20 - Halifax, NS @ Halifax Pop Explosion (early all ages show)
October 21 - Fredericton, NB @ Capital Complex
October 27 - Guelph, ON @ E-Bar
Josh Terry is a writer in Chicago. He's on Twitter.