The Toronto Star
Thursday, February 27, 2003
by Vit Wagner
Pop, punk, banter and barbs to go
Tegan and Sara's music matures
If It Was You songs airing at Lee's Palace
Thanks to Tin-Gee at firstname.lastname@example.org for providing the article.
In the three years since the release of their major label debut, This Business of Art, Tegan and Sara haven't abandoned their folk/pop roots so much as they've grown into their more multifaceted musical selves.
The 22-year-old twins Quin, raised in Calgary and now residing in Vancouver, have been all over the map promoting their varied sophomore disc, If It Was You.
There are moments on the new disc, released last year, when Tegan and Sara seem to have been influenced by the Ramones as the oft-cited Ani DiFranco.
"I think we're become more accomplished players and performers. And we're now able to emulate more of what we're interested in," says Tegan on the line from London, where they duo is wrapping up a short European jaunt before returning for a Saturday set at Lee's Palace.
"When we first started recording, we just played whatever came out of us. We were 19 years old. And we had written a lot of those songs when we were 16 or 17."
"This latest record is about who we are right now. The songs are all really relevant to who we are as people now. It's a lot more poppy and punky. There's still those folk elements in there because we listen to folk music too."
Despite a flattering, three-page spread in mass-circulation Entertainment Weekly at the end of last year, Tegan concedes that gaining a commercial foothold in the American market has been an incremental process.
If It Was You, released in the US on Neil Young's Vapor label, had modest success on the college charts after coming out last fall. Opening for alt.country phenom Ryan Adams also helped.
It also put Tegan and Sara in select company as possibly the only act to have opened for both Ryan and Bryan Adams.
"With Bryan Adams, we were playing in Europe to arenas of screaming, hysterical fans," says Tegan. "It was total pandemonium. It was a very different experience form opening in theatres for Ryan Adams. There's only so much impact you can have opening for someone in an arena."
That said, the sisters remain confident in their ability to win converts with their banter-and-barb-filled live sets. They've added a bassist and a a drummer since the release of If It Was You, but the essential dynamic remains rooted in sibling rivalry.
"Our personalities - the combination of sarcasm, shyness, humour, laughter and yelling on stage - really opens up peoples' emotions to us," Tegan says. "They are able to relate to us in a lot of different ways, not just musically. There have been many audiences who didn't get it."