Review ofTegan and Sara's album Saithood released through Sire Records.
According to Tegan and Sara Quin, their latest album Sainthood is 'obsession with romantic ideals'. Upon listening to the album, it's pretty good news that everyone has different ideals on the romance front.
Sainthood should come with an on-sleeve suggestion; "listen to this album on shuffle." It would make listening to this album easier, as it doesn't begin well. The first few tracks hide the potential of the album's later songs and any first-time listeners not using the shuffle option should perhaps skip the first three tracks in order to give the album a fair listen. Listen to the first three in a row and you'll never listen to it again.
Sainthood heavily uses electronics; as it often the case, sometimes this works, and other times it doesn't. Real fans of Tegan and Sara will lap up tracks such as 'Don't Rush', with its sequence of electronica, heavy guitar and repetitive chorus, but the uncomfortable mix of harmonies and electronics in 'Night Watch', for instance fails, with one or the other always seeming out of place. Even die hard fans will wish the pair would revert to their folk roots upon listening to it.
'Hell' strays into bland rock-pop and tries to sound edgier than it really is. This is the confusion that both this album and the duo throw up; they obviously have a lot to say and are unafraid of saying it, but you actually expect them to be much cooler than they really are in musical terms and certainly expect them to produce something that little bit better.
The duo's appeal is puzzling; with lyrics such as 'Go steady with me, I know it turns you off when I get talking like a teen.' in 'On Directing', it's difficult to see how anyone beyond adolescence could connect to them, but 'Red Belt' and 'The Cure' are easier to take seriously; the electronics work well and are both vocally strong.
The album is certainly a step away from Tegan and Sara's past sounds; there is little, if any, folk influence, which on first listen seems a shame; this could lose them some followers. However, it would be no surprise to see this album bring the duo a wider fan base in the long term, mainly for its use of rock-pop and punk influences.
Sainthood is over-produced in parts and repetitive in its choruses, which might not satisfy previous Tegan and Sarah fans. However, vocally the twins remain strong and their continued desire to tell the world how they are feeling might just leave new listeners enamored.
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