‘Never Give Up’ is a difficult album for one to put their finger on. Described by Partner as ‘Canadian Queer Post Classic Rock’, it harbours a handful of combined aesthetics, the synergy of which - though at times questionable - makes for a record that’s bold and brave. When it hits, it’s also bloody good fun. It does, however, take some time to hit, though opening number ‘Hello and Welcome’ introduces the band’s aesthetic instantly, combining off-kilter indie-pop with classic rock-inspired riffs and a country bent. And while the potential is there, iffy execution only serves to stymie any early pace that could be picked up. Thankfully things fare better in the record’s second half as Partner’s more poppy side is brought to the fore. Tracks such as ‘Here I Am World’ or ‘Good Place To Hide (At the Time)’ bring to mind bands such as Diet Cig or Hop Along, while providing the record with some much needed buoyancy. That doesn’t mean to say the second half is without noise. ‘Roller Coasters (Life is One)’ for instance, features arguably the strongest riff on the record; its upbeat optimism making it an obvious highlight. Fittingly titled, ‘Never Give Up’ is a record that exudes potential but tends to canter as much as it gallops. As such, it struggles to maintain any real sense of consistency, particularly in its early stages. That doesn’t mean to say it’s a record without positives; the latter half in particular really can shine. It’s just a shame its inconsistencies outweigh those moments, though only just.
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The record comes out in September via You’ve Changed Records.