I first discovered Tegan and Sara this summer and I was immediately caught with the strength of their new album's vocals and instrumentation. This Business of Art is the second album put out by the twins who hail from Calgary.
They have recently been endorsed by such well-respected musicians as Neil Young, with whom they toured this summer, and have often been compared with Ani Difranco. Although their voices are a little reminiscent of Difranco and their music has a neo-folk edge, there is a significant gap in the maturity of their lyrics when compared with those of Difranco.
This should not be taken as a serious criticism, however, since the twins are only twenty years old. Actually, I was astounded by the quality of the music, the strength of the vocals, and even their attempts at addressing social concerns. I was thoroughly impressed that they wrote their own lyrics and music.
The songs do seem to hide a deeper meaning and provide glimpses of a social consciousness that is lacking in top 40 hits. Unfortunately, the twins' lyrics never fully evolve, and they fall back into the old trap of repeating lyrics to the point that they become meaningless. For instance, in "Proud" they sing "finally I've got something I can raise my voice for" but the lyrics degenerate into trite, repetitive imagery like "fine tell them who you think you are."
Besides the strong instrumentation and vocals, the album's strength lies in the fact that it flows as sweetly as honey from a jar. From the first track, appropriately enough called "The First", to the last chord in "Superstar", Tegan and Sara have created an energetic, strong, passionate album that calls up sensations of anger, joy, and sensuality. The twins seem to be very talented musicians, and there is little doubt in my mind that they will continue to improve over time.