Date: September 16th, 2004
Author: Shawn Conner
Headline: Music Previews: Life Apart Does Sisters Tegan And Sara Good
Tegan and Sara Quin's story is as full of hooks as one of their songs. A twin-sister rock duo from Calgary who have toured with Neil Young, the Quins offer any number of angles for a writer to work with. But naturally the talented siblings would like the focus to be on their music a little more, and about the other stuff a little less.
"I'm hoping with this record we can explore a little more than the personal lives of Tegan and Sara," says Tegan, who sounds not one bit resentful or bitter about journalistic tendencies to dwell on aspects other than the music. She's on the phone from East Van, where she has lived since moving from Calgary around the release of the act's sophomore release, This Business of Art, in 2000. "I think we're a lot more interesting than that. But those things are also very interesting and as we get older and more confident I realize how important those things are and how significant they are to who we are, and I become less resistant to talking about them."
Confidence, at least when it comes to music, doesn't seem to be a problem. The sisters have been doing it more or less for themselves since the release of their 1999 debut, Under Feet Like Ours, at the tender age of 18. Now 23, the Quins have four records to their credit, respect from their peers, and a songwriting talent that shows no sign of waning. So Jealous, Tegan and Sara's latest release, is a deliriously catchy outing, with rich, vibrant melodies set to power-chord pop ("You Wouldn't Like Me", "Walking With a Ghost"), driving rock ("Take Me Anywhere"), and acoustic new wave ("I Know I Know I Know").
The disc again finds the twins working with producers David Carswell and John Collins, the Vancouver team that helped them move from the folksy strum of the This Business of Art to a rawer indie-rock sound on 2002's marvellous If It Was You. "I like how collaborative they are and I like that they let us come in there and boss everyone around and say what we want it to sound like and they find the solution," says Quin. "They're not egomaniacs, and they're not going 'No no no, it's gotta be done this way.' I don't like working with people like that. If Sara and I are going to fuck it up, then let us fuck it up."
This headstrong approach is less evident in the lyrics on So Jealous. In aforementioned songs like "I Know I Know I Know" and the opener "You Wouldn't Like Me", the Quins show a less certain, self-doubting side when it comes to relationships. Their own partnership seems stronger than ever, though, especially since Sara moved to Montreal from Vancouver almost two years ago.
"She really needed that separation, to feel she had a separate life and that she was a distinct person," says Quin, who has been rehearsing with her sister and their band for an upcoming tour.
"They say one twin always wants their own identity and the other is okay with it, and I'm kind of okay with it," continues Quin. "I don't mind being a twin, I don't mind sharing a band, I don't mind speaking in plural. I'm a habitual partner and I'm okay with that. Sara's definitely more 'I did this' and 'I did that' and I'm sitting there thinking 'I was there.' It's kind of cool, though, that now she can go 'I did this' and 'I did that' and I can go 'Cool, 'cause I wasn't there.' It's nice to be able to reflect on her life and her choices and not feel so annoyed."
Not that we want to dwell on the twin thing too much.