The big news surrounding Tegan and Sara (Canadian indie-rock sisters who have been pounding the pavement for a decade now) was that on their new album, they were going “pop”. Well, they weren’t lying. Their new album Hearthrob is very pop, but in a great 80’s pop rock way.
While the guitars aren’t as loud, and the punk aspects have faded, Tegan and Sara have crafted the kind of album that should get them the radio play and sales they’ve earned. Starting off with lead single “Closer” (which those of you in LA probably have heard on KROQ), you’ll already find yourself dancing. The song is a seductive come-on, as the girls sing “Let’s make this physical…I want you close, I want you”. “Drove Me Wild” is another song which should be blasted at bars and clubs.
Though their music has a new sheen on it, the emotion hasn’t been dulled. The disappointment in “Goodbye, Goodbye”, or the inner turmoil on album-highlight “Now I’m All Messed Up”, are good reminders that pop music doesn’t have to be soulless (it’s just somehow evolved that way).
The sisters’ vocals sound great, getting much more attention here than on past albums. Their crooning on “I Was a Fool” is gorgeous, and the layer backing vocals give the song a great warmth. “How Come You Don’t Want Me” is one of the catchiest songs on the album, with synths-a-plenty and fading vocals.
There may be a little over-production on tracks like “I’m Not Your Hero”, and ending track “Shock to Your System” steals from the more dour music of the 80’s, ending the album on a low note. Overall though, one of the first really good albums of 2013. 8/10