Tegan and Sara
In the grand hierarchy of every conceivable Canadian import, Tegan and Sara always rated in my mind as somewhere between Crown Royal and Canadian Bacon (the film, not the food): nice to try a couple times, not really offensive to the senses, but far from essential. The 27 year old twins' most well-known hit, "Walking With a Ghost," is a catchy and inoffensive piece that comes and goes without making much of a stern impression on the mind. Thankfully, with the recent release of The Con, Tegan and Sara have given us much musical ingenuity to chew on.
Brevity is the soul of their individual and combined creativity on The Con as the album's 14 songs rush by in just over half an hour. The ups and downs of being quite terse with the tunes are evident throughout this release. With more than 2/3 of the songs clocking in at under three minutes, some songs sound abbreviated, abstracts to a series of larger ideas. These instances are disappointing given the fact that this is a collection of songs that mark a definite step forward from their previous releases, both in lyricism and melodic advancement. "Hop a Plane" zips by with jagged Joan Jett posturing hyper-pop, but feels and sounds like a bit of simply constructed filler about forcefully separating a past love. However, the upsides to the formula are even more evident. "I Was Married" and "Relief Next to Me" dabble in everything from the sparse angular pop of Spoon to bouncy radio angst in slightly over the time it takes for "The Floorplan" to run its course of windows-down autumnal folk. Not to mention that it's positively stunning how well-produced this album turned out to be. The synths rear their catchy heads at multiple spots on the album (and brilliantly underscore the extremely elusive title track) and the guitars crunch harshly or gently sway at just the right moments. Check the cavernous drum strikes commandeering the virginal romance retrospective "Nineteen." With them, the entire mood is shifted from yearning for the past to positive frustrated ambiguity which, frankly, is a much more universal sentiment nowadays.
The Con may not be a groundbreaking album in the typical sense of the word, but it creates an obvious benchmark for this already accomplished duo. They are growing into the new role of championing a more universal feminine mindset with songs have just enough grit to be appealing to the less abrasive Ani DiFranco fans, enough pop sensibility to wrangle in the Kelly Clarkson hordes, and enough ingenuity to interest the people who are reading this review. O Canada, you have given the frustrated, angry, confused, and sentimental woman in each of us reason to celebrate.
Release date: July 24, 2007
Rating: 8.1 / 10
On the web: http://www.teganandsara.com
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