Talking like teens

Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
“On Directing,” the fourth track on Tegan and Sara‘s Sainthood, features a refrain of “I know it turns you off when I / I get talking like a teen.” The song appears to be addressed to a lover, although it’s tempting to read the read as a response to critics; after all, the Quin sisters have built their entire career off raw, emotional songs that sound like they were torn out of a teenager’s tear-stained journal. And although they will be turning 30 next year, they still sing in strained voices that sound distinctly youthful.

Sainthood is the their sixth album, and it hits all the usual nerves—depression, insecurity and heartbreak. The punkish “Nightshore” centres around a chorus of “My misery’s so addictive,” while the divorce-lament “Night Watch” declares, “I deserve this anguish on my house.”

It’s heavy stuff, but the slick production of Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp means that it never comes off as too much of a bummer. It’s easy to get distracted by the hummable melodies and glossy guitar/keyboard interplay with even noticing how bleak most of the lyrics are. “The Cure” is the catchiest of the bunch, a breezy new wave rocker anchored by jangling arpeggios and a steadily driving rhythm section. Opener “Arrow” is similarly memorable, with robotic blasts of guitar and drums that sound like they were cribbed from Mother Mother‘s bag of tricks.

The album’s final track, “Someday,” is perhaps the best song Tegan and Sara have ever written (yes, including “Walking with a Ghost”), striking a perfect balance between poignancy and pop bliss. Over a spiky groove with an organ melody clearly inspired by Wolf Parade, Tegan dismisses her body of work, singing, “Might write something I might wanna say to you someday / Might do something I’d be proud of someday.” Although it lacks the melodrama of the sisters’ usual work, it’s even more powerful to hear them criticize the same art that made them famous. It shows that, even after six albums and widespread commercial success, Tegan and Sara still have the fire to keep progressing and refining their craft.

Sainthood is out now via Vapor.
 
Posted in Albums Tagged Post a comment

2 Comments

  1. ttttt
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey there mr. neutral,
    Does this mean you like the new T+S record, or dont like it?

  2. Alex
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    WHAT DO YOU WANT, A LETTER GRADE???

    Ahem, I like it.

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