Tegan and Sara
The Con
Under the hand of Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, the Quin sisters have produced their most mature and affecting effort yet. Where before their atonal singing, questionable playing and teenage success was easier to dismiss as novel—yes, they are twins and lesbians—now, their hook prowess and deceptively simple songwriting are undeniable. The 14 songs of The Con buzz by in just over half an hour—three tracks fall under two minutes, five more pass before the three-mark—but it’s a breathless ride. The tiny songs are the most effective, especially “Soil, Soil,” in which Tegan (we think) breaks it off, then runs home to fix it: “All you need to save me/is call/and I’ll be curled on the floor hiding out from it all/and I won’t take any other call.” This is a love record through and through, its jagged edges and soft centre the sole theme, and it’s found in the vocal harmonies and how they never quite match up, tripping over one another, and in AFI’s Hunter Burgan on bass and Death Cab’s Jason McGerr, who lays down a huge backbeat on the otherwise plaintive “Nineteen” and dials it back for the scary “Like O, Like H” (“sugar spell it out like O, like H in your blood”). There’s no con here, just two Canadian girls opening their hearts wide enough to let everybody in, at their (and our) peril. Be prepared to wish you had tickets for their two shows at St. Matthew’s in October.
Tara Thorne
categories: Coast pick

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