Tegan and Sara - If It Was You
Vapor Records
Tim Anderl

Tegan and Sara, a Vancouver, BC duo comprised of sisters who had their upbringing in a punk outfit and who recently celebrated their 21st birthday, are not your typical shy and sensitive female singer songwriters. In fact, after spinning this disc it is clear that the sisters also have way more in common with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde than they do with that fashion victim in rotation on MTV who wears accessorizes a tank top with a neck tie….gasp. Perhaps this is why they've toured with Jonathan Richman, Rufas Wainwright, Brian Adams, The Pretenders, and even Neil Young (how is that for name dropping?). The verses of "Time Running" bare a striking similarity to the chorus Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," and showcases the sisters' forceful vocal delivery, which alternates between throaty conviction (but not in that Four Non Blondes kind of way thankfully) and breathy, dizzying soprano. "Monday, Monday, Monday" is a cynical, but mature and ultra catchy pop jem, peppered with subtle and organ that delivers an honest-beyond-their-years message of hesitance and resolution. "City Girl," which plods along with the help of some ironic, and endearingly amateur banjo picking, holds perhaps the best chorus on the album, "I got so City Girl on you/I went so crazy I didn't know what to do." With the help of John Collins and Dave Carswell (New Pornographers, The Smugglers), these sisters take basement recording charm and spit polish it enough to make their style really standout. This phenomenon is perhaps most apparent on tracks like "Under Water," a nearly three minute track that is perfect for bed-room sing alongs and cutting a rug behind the ironing board (how utterly Claire Daines of me). "I Hear Noises," chimes in like a paranoid Belly b-side with the sisters singing, "I hear noises in the dark/I hear sadness inside you." The psychedelic guitar soloing that drives the bridge is the icing on the bittersweet cake. The banjo makes another appearance on the decidedly Stevie Nicks influenced "Living Room," which again retains that basement-recording charm. Simply, this is a bad ass little record that has forever endeared me to Canada, or at least two of its residents.