CD review: Tegan and Sara’s ‘Heartthrob’

Smith Galtney

The Details

Tegan and Sara
Three and a half stars

One of the more pleasant musical makeovers in recent years, Tegan and Sara’s seventh album Heartthrob finds the adored indie duo taking an unrepentant, full-blown swing at becoming Top 40 pop stars. They’ve glammed up their anti-image with makeup and hair gel and chic duds, and they’ve hired a troika of platinum producers to remodel the T&S twin-guitar sound into a bright and bubbly, synth-poppy machine. Somewhere, some silly bird is crying, “Sellout!” But why gripe when the finished product feels so right?

Tegan and Sara has never been a hook-deprived unit (I’ve been singing their single “Hell” for three years now after hearing it just once), and getting showered with the radio radiance of first track/single “Closer” feels less like a revelation and more like the inevitable. Their hopeful little hearts are still getting quashed underneath all those skyscraper choruses and 4/4 beats. They’re still relatable, messed-up fools wondering where it all went wrong.

Unlike recent efforts by Yeasayer and anything related to Animal Collective, which bash the proverbial slate clean and test one’s faith and allegiance, it’s nice to hear a band branch out by building on something instead of tearing it down. These twin-sibling lesbians deserve all the industry kudos they can get.


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