Tegan and Sara – The Con
Release Date: July 24, 2007
Record Label: Sire/Vapor
Being in an indie folk/pop band usually draws a fair share of labels and/or stereotypes. When you add in the fact that band is fronted by twin sisters who are lesbians, well, the labels and stereotypes just pour on in. For the Canadian-born sisters, Tegan and Sara Quin, it would seem that the media would rather focus on their personal life rather than their music, which is a shame, because if you look through their back catalogue, you will find solid releases, including 2004’s So Jealous. And with the release of their fifth studio album The Con, the sisters hope to generate a new label: great songwriters.
Produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Christopher Walla, The Con features contributions from a few popular names. Along with Walla playing various instruments throughout, Death Cab’s drummer Jason McGerr plays on each track, while AFI’s Hunter Burgan played bass on all of Tegan’s songs and former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp played on Sara’s tracks. And with all that we get an album that has variety yet remains cohesive throughout.
The vibe and mood of the album change with each track, which is evident early in the album. “Relief Next To Me” is carried by Sara’s forceful vocals during the chorus while faint guitars and keys steadily move behind her. The title track is an emotional rollercoaster, with franticly paced verses followed by huge vocals from Tegan. With moody keys, a deep drum beat, and buzzing guitar work from the Quin's, this is my favorite track on the album.
“Are You Ten Years Ago” is about how Tegan finds a new love and feels 15 all over again. The anxiety in the vocals and lyrics are complimented nicely by the heavy industrial/techno vibe of the song. The album’s first single, “Back In Your Head,” features poignant piano keys and the catchiest chorus of the entire album. Sara is on point vocally, singing to the top of her lungs “When I get a little scared, I run, run, run.” “Hop A Plane” is the poppiest track with a striking guitars and sweet bass work by Burgan, while “Soil, Soil” is a stripped down piano-backed ballad from Tegan.
With The Con starting off so well in the beginning, one would expect it to lose steam towards the end, but thanks to tracks like “Nineteen” and “Like O, Like h,” the second half is just as strong. Tegan reminiscences about lost love in “Nineteen,” a guitar-driven track with a soaring chorus, while dark vibes encompass “Like O, Like h” and “Dark Come Soon.”
The Con bleeds with such emotion that the listener automatically connects and falls in love with the Quin sisters. I’ve always been a sucker for “heart on sleeve” albums, and The Con is no exception. Each song is relatable, as they focus on heartbreak, insecurity, and love while being ambiguous about whom they are singing about. With members of Against Me!, The All-American Rejects, and Cancer Bats already some of their biggest fans, The Con is the perfect starting point for new listeners, as Tegan and Sara take the good from previous albums and expand on it, resulting in the best album they’ve ever written and one of the better albums of 2007.
i've got a good friend who went to highschool with these girls. they were super good friends, but tegan and sarah chose music and my friend chose school, and i guess they fell apart. either way, i'm not a fan.