Review Summary: Mark my words, I might be something someday.
In 2007, my friend and I had completely fallen in love with Tegan and Sara. Being at an awkward teenage stage, they seemed to be “completely awesome” being a Canadian sister team, gay at that, and producing some seemingly good indie pop that really grabbed our attention and appealed to our easily bending emotions. Especially with my friend and I being in some make shift acoustic duo ourselves, we could really relate to them individually writing songs and then performing them together. In 2008, we packed up to make an (at the time) hell of a road trip from West Texas to Oklahoma City to see them in concert. It was packed, with mostly a bunch of butch women and notably, Sara's ex wife Elly at the merch stand. We also saw an appearance from a pretty good Australian duo named An Horse as the opening act who turned out to make a fair amount of attention for themselves in the US after that. And there we were, standing at the edge of the stage, screaming at them and throwing homemade bracelets that were caught by the amp sitting at Tegan's feet. They stood as our idles with their weird edgy haircuts, an indescribable unique mix of voices and their on stage banter was entertaining and wonderful. Throughout the night we heard a mix of songs from, at the time, their only LPs, Under Feet Like Ours
, If It Was You
, So Jealous
, and The Con
. All in all, a great live show, and from there, my love for the sisters only grew.
Tegan and Sara have shown themselves over the years to be an ever changing duo. Even just from their first album Under Feet Like Ours
released in 1999 to The Con
in 2007, being their breaking out album, you see such an improvement and change. Not only in quality advancement in lyrics but in their instrumental work as well, and it has only progressed the more they release. Very respectably in Sainthood
, though. Pressing play for the first track “Arrow” is almost nostalgic, because while you can easily place their vocals, there is an air of synth, and it is undeniably a production from Tegan judging by the lower tones throughout the song. They do not fail to incorporate the new and the old them though. The lyrics throughout the album, in their typical fashion, still touch base with falling in love and furthermore the struggle of heartbreak; just a bit more intricately written this time around. Third track, “Hell” is a perfect example of this with the chorus, “I know you feel it too/ these words get overused/ when we get up, and over it, and over them.../I know you feel it too/ it all seems so untrue/ when you get up, and over it, and over them..” Their use of electric acoustic and keyboard still says apparent, in tracks like “On Directing”, “Red Belt”, and “Alligator”. “Alligator” particularly can touch the soul, reminiscing of being betrayed in a previous relationship. Sara does a wonderful job on this track, almost carrying you through her emotions saying, “Run around/ I'd sooner die without/ run around on me, die without/ relentless, yes it's true/ my motormouth runs over you..”. All done with vocals that don't miss a key, and a background of upbeat keyboarding. As “Northshore” does the same, though in a more fast tempo, almost punk rhythm, bringing back memories from 90's radio punk guitar sounds.
Nevertheless, through the ballads of heartthrob and a considerable display of emotional outpour, the duo still manages to incorporate gleeful tunes towards the end of the album. "Sentimental Tune" reminds us that love is not all heartbreak, and that the existence of a meaningful relationship is possible. Unsurprisingly, they do it with a very Tegan and Sara-esque heartwarming indie guitar with hints of high tones and a steady drum beat, and not outright stating it, but with implication: "You catch a flame to my sentiment/ my sentimental tune/ Now you know, you know it now/Hard hearted, don't worry, I'm ready for a fight/ unnerve, the nerve, you're nervous/ nervous that I'm right..". The same is true with finishing track "Someday", leaving us satisfied that they still have it in them to create a gorgeous quality presentation blending both new and old sounds from the sister team. As a fan of their original work, they have proven to continuously improve, show signs that they won't stop until they drop, all the while keeping relations to their roots, both lyrically and melodically. Considerably, as they've demonstrated through their other LPs, they leave us on Sainthood
with certain words of encouragement to succeed as they have. Succeed, they have.
"Might paint something I might want to hang here someday,
Might write something I might want to say to you someday,
Might do something I'd be proud of someday.
Mark my words, I might be something someday"