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Album Review
Tegan and Sara - The Con Album Cover

Tegan and Sara - The Con

Reviewed by
8.8
Tegan and Sara - The Con
Record Label: Sire Records
Release Date: July 24, 2007
Sisters? Lesbians? CANADIANS?

It’s hard to get your facts straight about Tegan and Sara Quin. Everywhere you turn, you’re bombarded with some new rumor of dubious origin. To get things straight, they ARE lesbians. They’re also identical twins. However, despite their Canadian origins, they do not engage in twincest onstage – a rumor that greatly upset the duo when it was spread by a DJ last year. However, whatever you’re uncertain of about the two, know this – they’re capable of making some of the most original and entertaining alternative music this side of Beck.

Their most recent release, The Con, is their best yet. Yet? Yes, this is their fifth album. Commence kicking yourself now for not hearing of them sooner. Oh, yeah, even The White Stripes covered the song “Walking With A Ghost,” originally from 2004’s So Jealous. Feel guilty yet? The songwriting is notably split between the two girls, and Tegan’s songs (“The Con,” “Dark Come Soon,” “Nineteen”) sound very different from Sara’s songs (“Back in Your Head,” “Like O/Like H,” “Floorplan”), but both work on each other’s tracks. The album can’t seem to decide whether it’s more folky or electronica. For example, on the title track, the song proceeds to buildup emotionally and musically with acoustic guitars, but the prechorus hits and we are immersed in machine noises and heavy synths that even Trent Reznor would approve of. However, the album as a whole does tend to be quieter and calmer than fellow entries in the realm of indie-pop. Nowhere here do the girls go Patti Smith and rock out; they tend to stay their reserved selves, which is by no means a bad thing. While Sara tends to use less electric guitars than her sister, her songwriting style fits that choice – she is much more that of a storyteller than her sister, though Tegan’s songs tend to have better grooves and are more musically developed.

The vocals on the album are a very distinctive trait. Whether or not you can like The Con is quite reliant on whether or not you can handle the girls’ voices. They share vocal duties, and they tend to sing on their own songs, but there are quite a few times where they double up (most notably on “The Con” and “Burn Your Life Down”). This is used to great effect, that is, if you like that sort of thing. Their voices are very… different. They sing like they talk, and it’s quite beautiful, but it may not sit well with you. That’s my only warning about buying this album: if you don’t like their vocals, you naturally will not be able tolerate it. If you’re not already familiar with the group, then listen to either “The Con” or “Back in Your Head” before you even consider buying this album.

My only gripes are that there are parts where the songs do tend to get a little repetitive, and that the album is a bit too powerful. Lyrics like “I hold this pain in my heart forever/ All eyes are on me now/ I shouldn’t go but I can’t really help it/ When I feel this pressure” (from “Floorplan”) are delivered by the girls’ eerily sad vocals amidst very picturesque acoustic guitar. It’s a unique method of delivery and it works well to its own ends. Unfortunately, it may be lost on many listeners, especially the emotionally epic closers “Dark Come Soon” and “Call it Off” – together they form a denouement that makes you want to put the album right back in and listen to the whole thing again. And that’s what I suggest you do.

Recommended If You LikeMeg and Dia; Death Cab For Cutie; Shiny Toy Guns; Sleater-Kinney; Rilo Kiley; Beck; The Decemberists; An Horse

myspace.com/teganandsara
This review is a user submitted review from TachyonEvan. You can see all of TachyonEvan's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 41
04:27 PM on 02/12/09
#2
Slaur
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I love this band,and so does my six year old daughter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZJmhJqvzHg
07:42 AM on 02/14/09
#3
Undue Noise
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Love, love, love this album.
10:47 AM on 02/14/09
#4
TachyonEvan
Batman, for example, and Magellan.
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Great album.

And any constructive criticism you could offer would be much appreciated. :D
04:43 PM on 02/14/09
#5
TreyForest
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they are the only band i can get into with girl singers
this records fucking good ....
10:56 PM on 02/17/09
#6
HometownHero
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That RIYL section at the bottom of your review are terrible comparisons for the most part
11:10 PM on 02/17/09
#7
from debris
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great cd. it was not until this summer that i gave it a chance and i'm glad i did.
11:54 PM on 02/17/09
#8
Spenny
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Amazing CD. They're so good live, and hilarious on top of that.
11:59 PM on 02/17/09
#9
xBértox
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They sound NOTHING like Meg & Dia or Shiny Toy Guns.
But nice try.
12:08 AM on 02/18/09
Spenny
Hearts without chains.
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They sound NOTHING like Meg & Dia or Shiny Toy Guns.
But nice try.
BUT THEY AND MEG & DIA ARE BOTH BANDS CENTERED AROUND SISTERS!

*shot*
12:27 AM on 02/18/09
I Shot Chicago
NPH FTW
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very nice review.
and i agree with your ending. i have, in fact, ended this album and immediately began listening to it again.
01:51 AM on 02/18/09
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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awful review. you're an all around awful poster. i've seen the lost thread.
01:54 AM on 02/18/09
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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Great album.

And any constructive criticism you could offer would be much appreciated. :D
The vocals on the album are a very distinctive trait. Whether or not you can like The Con is quite reliant on whether or not you can handle the girls’ voices. They share vocal duties, and they tend to sing on their own songs, but there are quite a few times where they double up (most notably on “The Con” and “Burn Your Life Down”). This is used to great effect, that is, if you like that sort of thing. Their voices are very… different. They sing like they talk, and it’s quite beautiful, but it may not sit well with you. That’s my only warning about buying this album: if you don’t like their vocals, you naturally will not be able tolerate it. If you’re not already familiar with the group, then listen to either “The Con” or “Back in Your Head” before you even consider buying this album.

ok, here's some criticism: you could've written this gigantic repetitive clusterfuck paragraph in about 3 sentences. you could've also left the entire intro about them being lesbians off. i guessed your age after reading that, and i guessed 17. sure enough...
04:37 AM on 02/18/09
Inaction
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Eh I have to disagree. "The Con" isn't their best record at all and I'd be hesitent to describe anything on it as epic. A band like Sigur Ros have epic sweeping tracks, Tegan And Sara have short intimate pop tracks.

The review itself could do without devoting entire paragraphs to their sexuality and vocal style. The former is irrelevant and the latter is easily summarized.
06:17 AM on 02/18/09
phuckshietass
fingerbang u into my life
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love love love this cd

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