Jeff Moody

Near-future twin pop superstars

Tegan & Sara's new album, "Heartthrob," puts them on the edge of mainstream success.

By - Feb 23rd, 2013 04:00 am

Soon even yer Mom will rattle off the names “Tegan and Sara” as quickly as she does “Taylor Swift” because Heartthrob, the Canadian twins’ brand new elpee, is wall-to-wall with sparkly, fresh-scrubbed pop sound that is instantly ready for Top 40 radio. The Quin sisters been inching toward this for years, as the organic structures of their songs have become increasingly cluttered with synthetic pop accents. That perfect blend, along with their effortless ability to write about heartbreak and sing it straight through the stratosphere, that was what I’ve always loved most about T & S. Just last weekend, following two days worth of live rock and roll craziness of all kinds with dozens (and dozens!) of friends at an Upper Michigan resort, I collapsed into my hotel bed, put on some earphones, and hit the random button on my iPod. “Red Belt” from Tegan and Sara’s excellent Sainthood elpee came up first. I had to play it a few times over and marvel at what a perfectly composed pop track it is.

My main issue with Heartthrob is that it’s too perfect, too airtight, too synthetic. Grammy-winning producer Greg Kurstin is largely responsible for the glossy finish that brings this new set of songs to the brink of being indistinguishable from the considerable percentage of modern pop radio hits he’s already produced, but the Quins’ remarkable harmonizing and sense of phrasing save them from sameness. I have no doubt that Heartthrob will be Tegan and Sara’s biggest record ever, and I am as certain that they will be household names in less than a year from now as I am certain that the fans who have been following them since 1995 will wish hot death upon the legions on newbies that are about to hop on board. That’s just how these things work.

Categories: Rock, Stripwax

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