Tegan and Sara
The Con


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
July 23rd, 2007 | 172 replies | 20,537 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Indie pop goodness but underdeveloped

The Con, on the outside, looks like a headstrong, fast punk album, with half of the songs falling under three minutes and three of them under two. However, this is anything but. It’s the fifth full length album from Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara. The Quin sisters have gained a fair amount of popularity in the indie world, but this album is sure to take them to the next level, with two members of Death Cab for Cutie co-producing. The Con is their first album since 2004’s So Jealous, which racked up quite a few awards and made Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of the year.

Although musical partners and sisters, Sara lives in Montreal while Tegan lives in British Columbia. Anyone with basic geographical knowledge of Canada will tell you that’s quite a distance. Perhaps this explains the quick, disconnected, and spastic style of the album. While each song is a nugget of indie pop goodness, hardly anything ever develops. Opening track “I Was Married” sounds ready to explode into something great at any moment, and suddenly, it stops. It seems like every song has a sudden, static ending and the next track moves to something completely different. There is no cohesion, no similarities putting the album together. The distorted rock style of “Hop a Plane” quickly changes, rather awkwardly, to the lush piano and digital soundscape of “Soil Soil”, which could have been brilliant if it didn’t just stop once again after a short-lived minute and a half. These underdeveloped ideas detract heavily from the album, especially since it happens often. Furthermore, rather than linking a few tracks that draw from the same style together, or at least putting them near each other on the album, each song presents a different sound as the album progresses. While the duo’s versatility is admirable, their spasmodic style makes the album much more ambiguous than it needs to be.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the longer, more developed songs on the album are absolutely fantastic. “The Con”, an immediately accessible and catchy song, takes a simple song structure but builds as synth sounds envelop the entire song, undoubtedly inspired by touring partners like The Killers. “Floorplan”, the longest song on the album, combines a guitar motif with swelling keyboard lines that counterbalance the guitar excellently. Where other songs would have just ended, everything drops out except for the warm vocal harmonies that dominate the album jubilantly singing “all eyes are on me now.” From there, the song builds itself back up and sounds like it should end suddenly. Here, Tegan and Sara’s songwriting style makes sense. The following track “Dark Come Soon” feels like an immediate single, showing up the vocal talent of the two sisters in fantastic harmonization and flexibility. Reverberated guitars, subtle but still obvious synths, and superb bass guitar playing make the instrumental section a joy to listen to, some of the best backing music on the album.

The Con, full of short spurts of good but underdeveloped ideas and a few full-fledged songs, proves that Tegan and Sara have immense talent. Their vocals throughout the entire album are fantastic and they work together only like sisters could, even if they live across one of the largest countries in the world. If they could conjure an entire album of fully developed ideas, they could be the queens of the indie world, undefeated and unconquerable.



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user ratings (330)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
armfarm (4)
...

TheSaneLunatic (3.5)
Another fine album from Tegan And Sara... although several songs should have been altered for length...


Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2007



6092 Comments


It's weird, but I have everything they've put out and I haven't listened to any of it. Great review. I'll probably check this out sooner or later.

KingGhidorah
July 24th 2007



64 Comments


So Jealous is a pretty neat-o album. I've been contemplating whether to listen to the new album since its on a myspace stream.This Message Edited On 07.23.07

samthebassman
July 24th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I found this to be a pretty solid album.

Nice review.

The Jungler
July 24th 2007



4827 Comments


I've always kind of liked theses guys. Or at least their singles.
Good job.

Two-Headed Boy
July 24th 2007



4527 Comments


I heard some of this in a CD store today and it annoyed the shit out of me.

Good work.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

This is not a good cd. At all. Like I find faults in your being for enjoying it.

Touch Me Hard
July 25th 2007



2 Comments


i like these dykey bitches

Jimmy
July 26th 2007



717 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I saw them when they opened for CAKE, I thought they were awful. It was a huge mistake putting them between Gogol Bordello and CAKE.

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2007



6092 Comments


Well, this is surprising.

Abaddon2005
August 13th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty solid cd. 'Back in Your head' is so catchy.

AtavanHalen
August 19th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like this band, and I'm really really enjoying this album.

shnoogumz
August 27th 2007



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

their best album by far. and that was a pretty good review, but I think that all of their songs are the perfect length and don't need any improvement. if anybody gets the chance to see them live, I urge them to act on it. 5/5!

Tyler
Emeritus
August 27th 2007



7926 Comments


Pitchfork called this 'tampon rock'. I lul'd.

cometuesday
August 29th 2007



959 Comments


I finally heard this single on the radio today and I found it really irritating. I still kind of like Walking... even though I got So Jealous and discarded it shortly afterward. I get the impression I would not like this at all.
I do agree with your review though. If they could put a little more into their songwriting they could really be phenominal, but at what, their fifth album there's little chance of that happening.
Not only that, but they are responsible for that awful White Stripes cover.

emogangstascotty
September 18th 2007



472 Comments


Its alot more radio-friendly. But they still have some of the sweetest voices ive ever heard

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
September 19th 2007



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pitchfork called this 'tampon rock'. I lul'd


I just totally lul'd at that notion.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

emogangstascotty
September 19th 2007



472 Comments


tampon-rock?

Thats just plain dickhead-ism right there

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
September 19th 2007



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

negative.


edit: Tyler when the fuck did you review 160 albums? Christ.This Message Edited On 09.18.07

dansepartyplus
September 25th 2007



3 Comments


I've really enjoyed Tegan & Sara's earlier catalogue. For some real reason, I'm hesitating as to whether I should give this a try or not.

BlackVanillaSky
October 29th 2008



10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Chris Walla did a really nice production job on this album. I absolutely adore their harmonies, and just the way their voices sound together.



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