"Sainthood" by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara
Sainthood

Sire Records
2009

Review

Tegan and Sara's music must be my second favorite Canadian export - right after the comedy stylings of John Candy. They excel at the construction of the poppy Rock song made even sweeter by adding lyrics about that old R&B staple of love and loss. The dynamic duo is back with another collection of songs that at their best you cannot get out of your head and at their worst make you sing along when you think nobody else is looking. Just try to get "Don't Rush" out your head. I dare you. Since there are both Tegan and Sara, I double dare you.

Let's get this out of the way first: this isn't my favorite Tegan and Sara album. No, I think that honor has to go to So Jealous. That was my introduction to the world of Tegan and Sara and really just represents a moment where they made an indelible and lasting impression on me. I think that the follow up to that album - 2007's critically acclaimed "The Con" - was a better overall album than "So Jealous" and "Sainthood". That doesn't mean that this is a bad album though! The album loses steam towards the end of the album when the tempo slows down and the choruses become less catchy. But there's still a TON of tracks on here that are going to be stuck in your head for a long long time.

Tegan and Sara make poppy rock songs that just stick in your brain the way that pork and beans stick to your ribs. Listen to "Don't Rush" and tell me you aren't singing this to yourself over and over again:

One way or another
I'll find my way to cover
I sing to find the other
Sing to find my
One way my lovely other
Behind restless cover
You sing to another
Sing to find your

There's just such an effortless-seeming quality to the melodies to these songs that manage to make even the most jaded of music fanatics smile.

Take the driving guitar that opens "Hell". First the crack-cocaine addicting bass line, then the nicotine guitar line. Then another ridiculously infectious chorus:

I know you feel it too
These words get overused when we get up and over it and over them
Up and over it and over them
I know you feel it too
It seems so untrue
When you get up and over it and over them
Uh oh
Oh no
Uh oh
Uh no

I mean, "Hell" is the closest song I've heard to a remake of a song by The Go-Gos. In fact, if you remember The Go-Gos, listen to "Hell" and tell me that it don't make you smile.

Later on another one of the album's highlights "Night Watch", Tegan and Sara seem to channel their inner Hall and Oates - albeit in a more ominous fashion.

Even when the songs aren't perfect, they maintain their "let's sing along" quality (see "Alligator" and "Arrow"). There are only a few songs that didn't grab me as much as the standouts. These are the moments when the tempo slows and the songs get a bit more serious such as "Someday", "Red Belt", and "Paperback Head".

So while I like this album somewhat less that the freaking brilliant, The Con it is still an excellent album from one of my favorite poppy rock bands. Existing fans and new converts will find a lot to love here. If you aren't yet a fan, now's a good time to jump on the bandwagon.

As my favorite Tegan and Sara super fan likes to say: "If you don't like Tegan and Sara, there's something wrong with you.".

3.846 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Arrow (03:06) 4
2. Don't Rush (02:44) 5
3. Hell (03:25) 5
4. On Directing (02:46) 3
5. Red Belt (02:11) 3
6. The Cure (03:22) 4
7. Northshore (02:04) 4
8. Night Watch (02:33) 5
9. Alligator (02:42) 4
10. Paperback Head (02:38) 3
11. The Ocean (03:06) 3
12. Sentimental Tune (03:23) 4
13. Someday (02:57) 3