Tegan and Sara
Like the “HeadOn: apply directly to the forehead” commercial, Tegan and Sara’s “Walking With a Ghost” (from 2004’s So Jealous) proved that repetition equals retention. The simplistic and cyclical single earned an EP dedication by The White Stripes; the Canuck twin songwriters took note. On The Con, “Walking With a Ghost”-equivalents “Back in Your Head” and “Hop A Plane,” which are filled with pop hooks like “every record between ’93 and ’97,” act as a safety net for exploration elsewhere.
Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla and Jason McGerr, The Con’s co-producer and drummer, respectively, make their presences known – if not blaringly obvious – through delicate electronics and calculated percussion. “Floorplan” and “Burn Your Life Down” are giveaways.
“Nineteen,” “Call It Off” and the title track best meld the sisters’ aesthetic of earnestness and interwoven vocals with the collaborators’ marks, making those three songs particularly accomplished. When they aren’t adopting English accents on “Are you Ten Years Ago” or sounding like bingo callers on “Like O, Like H,” they put forth their most substantial material to date. If only it could speak louder than their damn undying scenester haircuts… VS