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Album review: Tegan and Sara’s ‘Love You to Death’

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Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Tegan and Sara Love You to Death

Although Tegan and Sara's 2013 LP, Heartthrob, featured plenty of the sisters' usual piercing emotional insights, its plusher sonic cushion (bubblegum beats, luxurious keyboards and retro production) was a marked departure from their stripped-down folk-rock. With producer Greg Kurstin (Sia, Ellie Goulding) at the helm, follow-up Love You to Death continues down this full-on synth-pop path.

The album marks a step forward from Heartthrob: Tegan and Sara sound far more comfortable and relaxed working within this pop realm, and expertly balance nostalgic influences (mainly early Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, and late-’80s Top 40) with a contemporary approach. Above all, Love You to Death features sturdier, vocal-forward songwriting with sophisticated emotional depth.

"100x" is a measured, piano-dominated ballad wracked with regret about delaying a breakup due to being tongue-tied, and standout "U-turn" (which begs to be mashed up with T'Pau's "Heart and Soul") exhibits impressive vulnerability. The protagonist takes an ultimatum from her beloved seriously, and pledges to change her stubborn ways: "Now I wanna write a love song/Even though you never ever asked me for one."

Love You to Death underscores that Tegan and Sara continue to find new, fresh ways to twist not only familiar topics, but also their own sound.

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