Album review – By The Book by Partner Look (2022) (Trouble in Mind)


COVID never ‘really’ affected Australia and especially Melbourne, like it did many of the European countries and the US.
This was primarily because a) The amount of things prepared to bite and kill you over there, meant COVID was probably a bit scared and b) when it did finally pick up the courage to make a concerted Pandemic effort, the Government tended to just shut up immediate shop, as soon as Matilda merely forgot to take her hayfever medication.
…And so it was that this album was released by two couples, two sisters and four friends, in gaps between the various Melbourne lockdowns. Perhaps this is why it resonates with the warmth of new found freedom, evoked from four chatting sh*t and making some tunes…or maybe that is just the Melbourne, signature sound anyway?
Made by Lachlan Denton and his beau, Anila Hasnain (both in Studio Magic) and Dainis Lacey and his girlfriend, Ambrin Hasnain, who were both in Cool Sounds,  this album is all things so very perfectly, Melbourne’s ‘languid jangly’ in texture.
The most overtly gregarious of the album is represented by Partner Look, Right Here and Geelong. Here retro pop inflections are coursed through, a Melbourne dolewave filter, that offers obvious Cool Sounds comparisons, whilst still offering its own originality via the twanging riffs that settle between the various melodic crevices.
These are the sort of tracks that the mouse’s of todays ADHD Spotify generation will naturally gravitate to when the task of listening to the entire album will become too onerous. Such sorts call then ‘bangers’, I believe?
However, this is one of ‘those’ releases that threatens to keep the dying concept of an ‘album’ alive, as it is something that needs to be heard from a holistic perspective, as it drifts in and out of different subtle nuance shifts.
The best of these can be heard in Leroy, Grasshopper and Chipsy, which take on a definitive laconic, Courtney Barnett meets Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton aesthetic, with their perfectly Aussie, inconspicuous pop sensibilites, whereas the overall sense of glorious sanguine, is intermittently suspended via the strangely ‘Melbourne unorthodox’, of tracks like Water and Speed Limit, which are all manner of 90s, anglo twee.
By The Book may have been a ‘something to do’ project between a group of friends  and as such it feels almost conversational in that respect. However, aren’t those ‘friends’ moments some of the best times in life? Kicking back and doing nothing with absolute gusto….this album deserves to accompany as many such wonderful moments as possible in future !!!






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