by Matt Blakley
Produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp, Tegan and Sara’s sixth album “Sainthood” dropped in late 2009 boasting the same organized sound that they’ve grown to perfect. The two sisters have given us 13 more songs of conjured emotion to bob our heads to—and rightfully so.
The first track, “Arrow,” conveys tangible intimacy, the third track, “Hell,” confronts the prevalent human emotion of apprehension, and as expected, the fourth track, “On Directing,” kicks us in the face with aspects of a controlling relationship.
What is most surprising to me in “Sainthood” is how some of the songs sound like 80s pop. Pitchfork, a leading music website for music videos, rankings and reviews, said “tracks like “Don’t Rush,” “Hell,” “The Cure” and “The Ocean” count as power-pop, but tightly wound as they are, they’re closer to high-strung 1980s new wave (think: Missing Persons),” which is a fairly new direction the girls are going in since cultivating it with their last album, “The Con.” Because of this revert, listeners should be aware that most of “Sainthood” sounds like a continuation of “The Con.” But that doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises or no growth.
The album “continues to showcase the pair’s confidence and peculiarities,” says Pitchfork, highlighting their “closed aperture” and “slightly sharper focus.” Albeit, a clearer image or song. Each song not only relays a sharper image but its organizational aspects are phenomenal. In their genre it’s easy for songs to get a little messy (although their touring with Paramore, many of Paramore’s songs are a good example of messy).
But what Pitchfork points out is their cleanliness. Each word fits with the beat that leads to the chorus perfectly, playing with amazing ambiguity and emotion. The songs are cohesive, even if their subject matter is messy.
“A broadcast from two idiosyncratic musical minds whose biggest talent may be in making their most eccentric traits sound downright normal” says Pitchfork. This gives “Sainthood” the edge that it not only needs but that we expect from the Quill twins. The type of edge that reaches out and ignites a blazing connection with their listeners.