Date: September 2004
Publication: Knox News
Headline: Canadian Twins Offer More Than Hype
Rating: 3 Stars
Now that Tegan and Sara have your attention, they hope you'll notice the bracing pop/rock on their new So Jealous.
The Quin twins from Calgary, Canada, have been a blip on the radar since their 2000 debut, This Business of Art, partly because of their sexual orientation and relation to each other. Unfortunately for them, their status leads to unfair comparisons to everyone from the Russian fake lesbian duo Tatu to the more political and mature lesbian duo Indigo Girls. (Perhaps the most apt comparison would be to the alternative-pop act The Murmurs, but since that duo hasn't released an album in six years, it's a rather moot parallel.)
At any rate, the 24-year-old Quins create an unpolished gem in So Jealous, keyed to the lo-fi buzz and jangle of guitars, retro-electro synths by guest performer Matt Sharp (Rentals/ex-Weezer) and the harmonies and melodies of the sisters, who often sing in unison.
Although relationship songs are the mainstay for Tegan and Sara, lesbianism isn't much of a factor in the generalized lyrics - because as they sing on the upbeat "Speak Slow," "When you want love/Does it matter what you're looking for?"
The sisters are most compelling on their more cheerful material, especially with the fusion of energy and naivete on the sweet "Take Me Anywhere," but also with the reassurance of "I Won't Be Left" and the sensual invitation "Downtown." Yet these gals aren't often so optimistic, which plays for giggles on the fractured opening cut "You Wouldn't Like Me" ("I feel like I wouldn't like me if I met me"), but eventually transforms into increasingly annoying alternations of clinginess and sullenness ("Look me in the eye and tell me you don't find me attractive" they pout on "Where Does the Good Go").
That moodiness is a sour complement to arrangements that sometimes skew toward sketchy and stilted, but at least half of the 14 tracks on So Jealous could make Tegan and Sara the envy of their rivals.