Under Review: Tegan & Sara – Sainthood

Watching the documentary about the making of Tegan & Sara’s last album, The Con, it’s clear that the sisters Quin (who are seen every few minutes talking on a “Forest Fone”) don’t take themselves too seriously.  Their music, on the other hand, is always hyper-personal, perhaps making up for their otherwise informal behavior.  The sisters’ latest, Sainthood, takes its title from a lyric by fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen, though the songs aren’t quite as dark as that influence might suggest.  In fact, compared to the often atmospheric songs of The Con, Sainthood leaps out the speakers in a rather aggressive manner.  Songs average three minutes or less, and are mostly upbeat and almost punky in their structure.  More so than on previous efforts, the songwriting (and singing) of each sister is strongly defined.  Part of that could be due to Tegan’s more brooding singing, a technique she employs on “The Ocean” and, aptly, “The Cure.”  Sara’s songs are sturdy, too, with “On Directing” containing some particularly emotion-wringing lyrics.  Whether or not the album is more grown up is hard to tell, because the mature lyrics are often offset by bouncy and brash power-pop.  “Northshore” and “Hell” rock harder than anything you might expect from the sisters, and the keyboard stabs on “Night Watch” punctuate the song’s unusually weaving melody.  If there’s one thing that I can find fault with about Sainthood, the same goes for The Con, too: Chris Walla’s production style is a little too clean.  Chalk it up to spending so much time crafting the sterile albums of Death Cab, but Walla’s outside work (including The Crane Wife and his own solo album) gets suffocated in his pristine production.  Though Sainthood might not be as ragged as it could (and should) be, it’s still a great collection of tunes.  Tegan and Sara (the sisters) yet again show that Tegan & Sara (the band) is one of this generation’s finest pop groups.

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~ by E. on October 26, 2009.

2 Responses to “Under Review: Tegan & Sara – Sainthood”

  1. ooooh, there’s TWO of them.

  2. There ARE Two of them!

    I love Chris Walla’s production…it’s what I like best about DCfC and why The Crane Wife is the only Decemberists album I could really get into.

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