Tegan and Sara
Sainthood


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
October 26th, 2009 | 103 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another consistently entertaining album of girl-on-girl action.

With 2007’s deceptively layered breakout record The Con, Tegan and Sara Quin, along with uber-indie producer Chris Walla, reveled in the darker recesses of indie pop, merging unconventional song structures and atypically diverse instrumentation with the kind of incisive, realistic lovelorn tales the two long ago perfected. Few would have expected the record to chart as well as it did, and it’s probably no coincidence that this, their sixth record, capitalizes on this. It’s perhaps the band’s most accessible to date, but these identical lesbian twins are hardly the likeliest candidates to be mainstream sellouts. Rather, Sainthood is a full-bodied, meticulously crafted rock record, one that stands firmly on its bedrock foundation of guitar, drums, and bass and lets the duo’s way with words and distinctive personalities shape the album into yet another uniquely Tegan and Sara album.

The two have always grounded their work in an essentially rock/pop mix, but never as blatantly as on Sainthood. Forgoing the quirky sonic soundscapes and expanded textures that characterized The Con, Walla beefs up the guitars and turns the amps up to 11, resulting in a thoroughly muscular record. From the jagged chords that open “Arrow” to the shiny keyboards and charging drum rhythm on closer “Someday,” Walla and the twins pulls no punches, concocting a potent blend of post-punk and polished pop-rock that rarely lets off the gas pedal. It’s perhaps Tegan and Sara’s most direct record to date, one that shines the spotlight squarely on what has always been the two’s strongest asset: their lyrics.

Tegan continues to play the role of designated hitmaker, penning catchy gems like propulsive first single “Hell” and the chiming alternative gem “The Cure.” Her specialty is striking a Cyndi Lauper-like balance between straightforward pop structures and hooks that refuse to let go with lyrics like “screaming like no one might / call the cops and arrest you this time” or the authentic verisimilitude of want-you-back anthem “The Ocean.” Sara, on the other hand, matches her oddball voice with suitably ambiguous lyrics and some of the more musically interesting tracks on the record. The funky Canadian (read: white) soul of “Alligator” finds her complaining of “alligator tears cried over you” and warns “run around on me / die without,” while the surprisingly poppy “Red Belt” admonishes one to “slow it down, you have a tendency to rush back into your past / slow it down, you transfer all your weight and disappear / kneel, to condition all the feelings that you feel.” For all their growth as lyricists and songwriters, Tegan and Sara repeatedly prove on Sainthood that not only do they work best when focusing on their everyday descriptions of love and broken relationships, but also when they continue their technique of writing songs separately. Each song here has a distinct Tegan or Sara identity, giving the album a well-thought-out sense of flow; in contrast, the one track written together, “Paperback Head,” never really develops a discernible theme and comes off like one of the few half-baked efforts here.

On first listen Sainthood might even sound a bit bland to first-time listeners, as the similar production causes a few songs to blend together into generic punk-influenced alternative, particularly in the second half. But that comes off more as Walla’s directive than the sisters’, particularly when you consider how tightly wound the songwriting here is and how effectively the band delivers hook after delicious hook on top of consistently engaging lyrics. It’s there on the stutter-step backbeat of “Don’t Rush,” it’s there on the snarling faux-punk anthem “Northshore,” and it’s there in their enviable ability to make the listener care about their ubiquitous girl problems and obsessions. And really, who can’t relate to girl troubles?



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Chart.
3.8
excellent
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recommended by reviewer
Metric Fantasies

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

need more recommendations by reviewer but can't think of any at the moment

YouAreMySilence
October 26th 2009


3727 Comments


Haven't listened to this or alot of their other material and I really haven't felt the need to, but the Metric rec makes me intrigued.

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i liked fantasies better (emily haines is hotter what can i say), but this is good

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


15035 Comments


2pac - all eyez on me

PuddlesPuddles
October 26th 2009


4772 Comments


My girlfriend has been talking about this band forever now, and I don't know if she's interested in them or making fun of them.

You tell me it's great, I believe

ziroth
October 26th 2009


1252 Comments


So if I was really bored with Metrics latest might I still like this?

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one thing i cannot believe is how tickets to this show were $60 in the los angeles area. fuck you ticketmaster

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah ziroth, it's much more upbeat than metric's and the hooks are generally better. listen to the first couple of songs and then you'll have a fairly good idea what to expect

Douglas
October 26th 2009


9104 Comments


Good review! Listen to an interview with these guys and Dools on triple J the other, sounds okay i guess.

ziroth
October 26th 2009


1252 Comments


yeah ziroth, it's much more upbeat than metric's and the hooks are generally better. listen to the first couple of songs and then you'll have a fairly good idea what to expect


Cool I'll add it to my to-do list.

YouAreMySilence
October 26th 2009


3727 Comments


Their vocals really bore me :/.

mvdu
October 27th 2009


605 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you want another suggestion for rec., maybe Brandi Carlile's Give Up The Ghost? That is one of my best albums of the year, and I agree that Sainthood is also excellent. It ends up being Tegan and Sara's most power pop sound yet.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2009


7996 Comments


i like these guys......er, ladies

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks mv i'll check it out

kitteezrfunnieslawlz
October 27th 2009


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Id have to say that "The Cure" is probably my favorite off the album so far, but who knows maybe the other songs will grow on me. It's an all around good album though.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009


28521 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good CD...great day for music both this and Atreyu coming out today..."Congregation of the Damned" edges this out by just a bit tho...

Digging: Chris Brown - X

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009


10419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i don't appreciate you commenting on my reviews after your victory last week academy, i'm still sore

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009


28521 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol i think my team put up almost 180 points this week...

"Northshore" is insanely catchy

pos'd by the way

elephantREVOLUTION
October 27th 2009


2744 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i listened to this once the other day and i enjoyed it quite a bit. alligator is sweet!

RobotFrank
October 27th 2009


344 Comments


I think I would like T&S more if they weren't ever upbeat. They're on the fence of the sort of thing I like, and it would take only a slight breeze in either direction... Nice review, I'm intrigued. +1



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