Sister Duo Sets Hearts Aflutter
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 23:01
Over the past decade, Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara have been making indie rock with a unique, memorable and personal twist. They began by writing folk-rock music, but with the release of their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, they have left these roots far behind. The two continue to follow the path they began to take in their previous album, 2009’s Sainthood, which had much more of a pop feel than did their previous efforts. Heartthrob is a huge step in a relatively new direction for the duo; it’s easy listening and has a peppier, more upbeat feel.
This exciting tone, however, sharply contrast with the album’s lyrics, which are mostly about loss, the end of relationships and the deterioration of love. All the same, the sisters use upbeat, catchy pop beats to elevate the voice of their message. The two rely less heavily on their guitars thn in and instead utilize a synthesizer to help add to the pop feel this album has. Although this album is their most mainstream creation to date, it still feels like Tegan and Sara.
The two stick to their usual lyric writing maneuvers, drawing from their own personal experiences to pen introspective lyrics about relationships. They highlight both the good and the bad of relationships in a way that few other artists today are able to do. It is obvious that they wear their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak. These relatable lyrics help give the album its focus and make it accessible to listeners from every walk of life.
The hook-driven second and third tracks, "Goodbye, Goodbye" and "I Was a Fool," are filled with regret after the end of a love affair. The first single off of the album, "Closer," is more optimistic and gets their new sound across efficiently and precisely. "Drove Me Wild" features echoing vocals and a powerful chorus, while "I Couldn’t Be Your Friend" has a slow buildup that pays off in a huge way and "I’m Not Your Hero" begins strong and stays level throughout.
Although more musically diverse and complicated than their past albums, Heartthrob is basic in its execution, where much of its charm can be found. There are no unneeded parts, and every riff, hook and backbeat sound absolutely necessary and well placed. The album is well-organized, with great flow and continuity between each of the songs, though each is recognizable in its own right.
As artists, Tegan and Sara have seriously matured and gained a lot of confidence in their abilities as performers. There are no half-hearted efforts on this release; it is easy to hear that they poured all of themselves into every single track. Heartthrob will definitely be marked one of the best releases of 2013, and it is a wonderful treat to have to listen to on a cold and dreary afternoon.