Over the past few days, I've listened to this album at least 4
times, all the way through- that is 13 tracks, all around your
average two and a half to three and a half minutes in length. I'm
absolutely stunned that there were maybe three or four memorable
moments on the entire record.
This is not to say that Sainthood is any serious departure from typical Tegan & Sara. The record falls in line with the sweet and generally pleasant past releases like If It Was You. But where are the standout tracks like "Living Room," opened with delicate acoustic guitar pickings, or The Con's "Back In Your Head"? Sainthood brings out the best of the pair's characteristic correct combination of minor chords, simplistic electric guitar and folk rock, but it feels too generic for a Tegan & Sara album.
We get a glimpse of their old tendencies in "Alligator." It is a light and airy song, pushed gingerly forward by keys, that of a piano and of a xlyophone, but then the heavier drums and bass. You don't have to pay any special attention to the lyrics, only notice that chorus chant "over you, over you" make the lyrics pop. It's not especially dance-y, but carries with it by far the most upbeat label of the record.
Tracks like "Northshore" and "Sentimental Tune" show hints of their brilliance, but ultimately really don't deliver. They, like most of the rest of the album, lack spunk and character and really, it's just not fair to fans.
They also lack substance; there just is not that much to grab onto.
It is my sincere hope that this album will grow on me, as many folk rock songs tend to do. In the meantime, I'm scrolling back in iTunes to look for Tegan & Sara's older material.