The formerly indie Quin twins smash into the mainstream with a perfectly formed record full of buoyant pop songs
Eight albums into their career, Canadian twins Tegan and Sara have made their definitive record. 2013’s ‘Heartthrob’, which boasted the pounding ‘Closer’, revealed the former indie rockers as a force to reckon with in the pop world. If that album was a surprise left hook, ‘Love You To Death’ is an indisputable KO.
From the kaleidoscopic swirl of opening track ‘That Girl’ to the crystalline sheen of power ballad ‘White Knuckles’, the Quin twins are relentless in their quest to move our hearts and feet – often in different directions. Like Robyn’s stone-cold 2010 classic ‘Dancing On My Own’, these are buoyant pop songs with a heavy heart – their lyrics dealing respectively with “getting sick and tired of things getting tough” and “breaking each other like knuckles in a fight”. On first listen, they appear to reveal romantic relationships gone wrong, although the musicians have admitted that they’re directed at one another, referencing disputes that nearly broke up the band. Well, it must sometimes get rough when you write, record and tour with a sibling for almost 20 years.
Light, airy ballad of regret ‘100x’ (released with an unbearably cute, tongue-in-cheek video of pooches enjoying a wind machine caressing their fur in slow-mo) continues in this vein, although the emotional heft of the album is anything but one-note. ‘Dying To Know’ whirls around the listener like a post-breakup maelstrom of pain and bewilderment: “You hurt me bad / I wanna understand / Hit me back / Because you owe me that.” Meanwhile ‘U-Turn’, clocking in at under three minutes, is glorious, strutting pop-funk, a sassy paean to maturity: “Gonna sit myself down / Rein my pride in / Start to focus / Change who I’ve been.” The latter is directed at a romantic partner whom the narrator has vowed to finally fully appreciate.
It’s the shimmering highlight of an album packed with shimmering highlights, though the centrepiece here is the pulsating lead single ‘Boyfriend’, as Tegan and Sara finger-snap at a same-sex lover unwilling to commit. It’s kind of a riposte to Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’. Katy, here are two contenders for your pop crown.
Director: Greg Kurstin
Record label: Vapor, Warner Bros
Release date: 03 Jun, 2016