Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
Record Label: Sire
Release Date: October 26, 2009
Following on from the critically acclaimed success that was 2007's The Con, Canadian indie-pop twins Tegan and Sara (mostly) join writing forces to bring us Sainthood, their sixth full-length studio album. Continuing their formulaic yet charming trend of short and snappy indie tracks that deal with themes of love and general conflicts of interest, it's clear that the indie twosome have had their fair share of relationship issues during the making of this record.
That said, Sainthood certainly represents a more mature spin - albeit still a little bitter here and there - on the classic pop theme and indeed the nature of their older work by comparison. During the fourth track "On Directing" for example, a somewhat sarcastic remark of "talking like a teen" is made from narrator to love interest – allusion perhaps to the twins' now-abandoned approach to writing lyrics under the guise of a lovestruck fourteen year-old girl who is desperately attached to an instant-messaging conversation with a similarly clueless teenager.
Weighing in at a brief 37 minutes, the record careens from being uplifting and catchy to shamefully forgettable by contrast to stronger tracks like "The Cure" and "Nightwatch." The first two opening tracks "Arrow" and "Don't Rush" pack a slow but steady pace and represent the greater emphasis of electronic parts compared to the twins' previous albums.
The chorus for Don't Rush was stuck in my head as soon as I heard it – truly the hallmark of any good pop song - although the same can't be said for every track. Regardless, the entirety of the album theorizes the frustrations and joys of finding someone to love and being loved in return in such a sincere way that discrediting the appropriate talent of the band seems unjust.
It's clear that the Quins were more conscious to the style of music they wanted to create with Sainthood – the vibe that resides throughout all thirteen tracks doesn't stray too far from representing a particular feminist dominance. As the record starts coming to its narrative conclusion, the seemingly head-first and hostile nature becomes replaced by a more light-hearted mood; topping the album off with a succinctly pleasant feeling.
As a result, it's worth trudging through the songs that may not be as favourable, simply because the overall package is well-rounded and concise enough to make the pay-off worthwhile. In a bid not to degrade and sound overly harsh, it's this welcoming quality that affords Sainthood the respectable footnote of being a record suited as background music that is actually worth paying attention to.
The tight focus and more sensible approach to song-writing gives Sainthood a greater ability to be unique and enjoyable without defecting to the point of being vacuous in a radio-friendly sense. Arguably it's not Tegan and Sara's best effort on the whole, but its the refined practice of 'short and sweet' that the two sisters have nigh-on perfected that lends Sainthood a well-deserved recommendation to anyone who finds the venue for well-made indie-pop a prospective attraction.
I don't know what's going on with score. I'd like to say though, that I think AP's rating system is dumb as hell. What's with all the .25s etc.? It's so unnecessary and is kind of a chore to have to think up, even if it doesn't actually show on the review haha