I’m always game for a solid album of Aussie indie and this debut from Melbourne’s Partner Look ropes in quite a few members of RSTB faves. Culling from the ranks of Cool Sounds, The Ocean Party, and Studio Magic, the band clips into the new wave of post-punk that’s been on the rise in the city. Like Twerps, Dick Diver, or Terry, the band embraces a shaggier vision of the genre, balancing male/female vocal swaps with gnarled twang and pared down keys. One of the most endearing aspects of the Aussie new wave has been the collaborative nature of the bands — swapping members, embracing egalitarian songwriting, and forging a melting pot aesthetic that winds up more adventurous than their quite a few of their counterparts abroad.
The record is taut and tensile one minute, bouncing off the rubberized guitars of the eponymous opener or “Geelong,” kitten soft the next, wandering in soft focus on “Water.” The band feels quite like a sister act to Cool Sounds, embracing their ability to mold themselves into the nooks and crevices of pop with ease. When a quiver of neon synth ripples through “Leroy,” it seems only natural. When they strip things down to the horn rim squirm of Young Marble Giants on “Speed Limit,” it doesn’t come as jarring. When the New Order guitar tone caps “Deutschland” the inclusion feels more than plausible. The band’s voracious consumption of influences works well when it’s boiled through their dry ice filter. At the core the band has a slight aloofness to them that’s held tight right up until they tip their hand with a blush or a wink. It makes for an endlessly entertaining album that doesn’t give into expectations or worry too hard about making anything less that just what the players would look for in the records littering their own decks. Its nice to hear a band just having fun with it.
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