In the past few years in the music industry, growing as a female artist has had little to do with the actual music and more to do with image, i.e. making that great leap from virgin to whore.
How unbelievably refreshing, then, to hear If It Was You, the sophomore album from sister act and former Calgarians Tegan and Sara Quin.
Right from the opening track Time Running, the disc shows not only a great deal of growth and maturation from the girls in their songwriting, but a seemingly completely natural transformation in sound and direction - from Lilith Fair-friendly artists to three-minute indie pop queens.
In doing so, they’ve lost none of what made them so charming.
With the help of producers John Collins and Dave Carswell (the former is a member of The New Pornographers and the latter helped on that band’s Mass Romantic album), Tegan and Sara have pushed the brash melodies to the front, hooking you inside the songs where everything else - their distinct vocals and the harmonizing that they do so well, the catchy and clever rock instrumentation, and the universally personal lyrics - will invite you to return and linger.
And when you do, you’ll also be surprised by the amount of diversity there is on the album.
The album’s first single I Hear Noises sounds like a lost Belly song, the banjo-plunking voyeuristic Living Room is equal parts creepy and erotic, the sublime Monday, Monday, Monday is pure love song pop, and Not Tonight is a slow, achingly beautiful tune with some pep thrown in for good measure.
The best part about If It Was You is that, so young into their careers, Tegan and Sara have shown a willingness to defy expectations and categorization in order to follow their music wherever it may take them.
It’s a pleasure being able to watch them grow.
1. Time Running
2. You Went Away
3. Monday, Monday, Monday
4. City Girl
5. Not Tonight
7. I Hear Noises
8. Living Room
9. Terrible Storm
10. And Darling
11. Want To Be Bad
12. Don't Confess