In 2015, two musicians from Sackville N.B. named Josée Caron and Lucy Niles started Partner, a grunge-pop band that perfectly balances politics and humour in a way both charming and bold. Within the year, they had released a single and video and garnered enough buzz to earn them a deal with You've Changed Records. It almost seems as though the two came out of nowhere with a fully formed vision, crystallized in their brand of riff-heavy, feminist-tinged rock. Don't let their slacker-rock persona fool you though; this band has done the work.
“We attempted to tackle political subject matter earlier in our lives and most of those songs will never see the light of day as they are both inarticulate and sonically alienating,” said the band via email to Radio 3. "Our current catalogue is a great example of practice makes better."
Partner’s songs are personal anthems. Take 2015’s “The Ellen Page”, a viral hit starring none other than the actress Ellen Page moshing in stock footage while vocalist Caron reflects on being compared to Page because they are both “50% Maritime and 50% lesbian.” It’s one of those songs where you don’t know whether to rock out or stop what you're doing, because the underlying theme of its slacker rock swagger goes much deeper than a tongue and cheek joke.
“When we first founded this band, one of our ideas was that we were going to stop being shy and self deprecating on stage,” they said. “This seemed radical back then because as young gay women, we felt that a certain degree of demureness was expected of us. Since then, the world has become even more outwardly hostile to marginalized people than it was at the time. We believe that in a turbulent era such as this one, it is the role of art and entertainment to provide hope as well as a space where people can feel safe.”
This week, the band delivered “Comfort Zone," a larger-than-life rocker that brings to mind the heyday of late '90s and early 2000s power-pop in which they declare their love for frozen pizza and sweatpants. It is first single from their yet-to-be-announced album, which will cover a range of topics, sure to instill both hope and introspection to its listeners.
"It is difficult to resist when you are exhausted, and if people would be so kind as to allow us to be the soundtrack to their rest, it would be an honour." they said. "In saying that, we are acutely aware that our experience differs greatly from that of many people, and we do not wish to speak for anyone but ourselves."
In rest, or in jest, Partner make a great soundtrack to our lives.
Partner's debut album will be out later this year on You've Changed Records. For now, you can listen to "Comfort Zone" below.