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Album Review: Tegan and Sara ‘Love You To Death’

Tegan and Sara Press Shot

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin have been on the music scene since 1995, pumping out sugary, eternally youthful pop hits that never really go out of style. Their eighth studio album ‘Love You To Death’ is a wild ride filled with pulsing pop melodies and delicate vocal harmonies, a testament to their years of experience and original style.

In opening track That Girl, shimmering production forms a delicate foundation for the fast-moving lyrics, interspersed with sharp, punchy harmonies. An infectious, syncopated beat and hazy synthesisers ground the track in its 80s disco realm. Those who manage to keep up through the verses will be rewarded in the chorus with a fresh key change, highlighting the softer side to the twins’ vocals against a kaleidoscopic synthesiser melody.

It seems early to make this call, but Faint Of Heart is a strong contender for the album’s catchiest track. Its anthemic drum beat works hard, offsetting the sweetness of the flickering synth melody and making an ideal partner for the smooth chord progression. The track asserts the twins’ pop dominance, creating a fascinating juxtaposition of modern synthesisers and effects with old-fashioned beats.

“Faint Of Heart asserts the twins’ pop dominance, creating a fascinating juxtaposition of modern synthesisers and effects with old-fashioned beats.”

The combination of classic RnB chords and poppy disco-style synth in Boyfriend is more than enough to knead the repetitive lyrics into your subconscious. The verse ring of a Kylie Minogue tune, and at times it’s almost too sweet, but the searing lyrics go some way to balance things out.

The catchy melody and spiteful lyrical edge create a delicious contrast in Dying to Know. Modern production, tasteful harmonies, and a wicked dance rhythm – this song has all the usual ingredients of a Tegan and Sara tune, but this time the lyrics are almost too real – “I’m dying to know/Is the one you ended up with everything you wanted?” If you’re going through a breakup, hold on to your heart.

One of the album’s most accessible numbers, Stop Desire carries on the album’s pop sound with an instantly loveable chord progression. Again, the twins build an intriguing contrast between the song’s bright melody and angst ridden lyrics as they sing, “Get me, feel me, want me, like me, love me, need me”.

With its complex harmonies and another set of irresistible chords, White Knuckles gives Faint Of Heart some tough competition for the catchiest song on the album. It’s three minutes’ worth of subtle, smooth RnB rhythms and breathy harmonies, an impressive fit for any modern pop radio mix.

“100x is the album’s token claustrophobic party anthem, harbouring pop lyrics with a sense of rawness and pain.”

100x highlights Tegan and Sara’s delicate harmonies more than any other song on the album, starting with a raw combination of piano and vocals. This song is the album’s token claustrophobic party anthem, harbouring pop lyrics with a sense of rawness and pain – “I was someone you loved, then I was nothing at all”. A not-so-subtle tug on the heartstrings makes this track the ultimate palate cleanser to give you a break from all that pop.

Peppered with happy vibes and glassy synthesisers, BWU will have 80s babies and former Singstar fanatics feeling nostalgic for Tiffany’s equally poppy hit I Think We’re Alone Now. The contrast between the song’s upbeat melody and forceful, pessimistic lyrics is interesting, but it’s during the prechorus, as the rhythm slows and harmonies shine, that BWU really comes into its own.

U-Turn is like a modern twist on old-school Gwen Stefani – an irresistible urban charm, plenty of energy, and a refreshing prechorus minor key – but if it’s another catchy chord progression you’re after, look no further than the album closer Hang On To The Night. Thanks to the constant pulse of deep synthesisers and an anthemic drum beat, the whole track takes the form of a futuristic lullaby. Keeping the bridge and chorus lyrics basic and intuitive, the twins compact all the best bits of ‘Love You To Death’ into their final number, delivering a strong finish to a solid album.

Catch Tegan and Sara performing tracks from ‘Love You To Death’ at Splendour In The Grass 2016 or at their Sydney and Melbourne sideshows!

Album Rating: 3.5

Tegan and Sara Tour Dates [SOLD OUT]

Splendour in the Grass Festival, Byron Bay
170 Russell, Melbourne
Metro Theatre, Sydney

Tegan and Sara Album Cover

Written by Jess Martyn