Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry, Mastered by Jeffrey Konrad
As people, Tegan and Sara Quin, seem to be well-adjusted or simply considerate to the inequity of the human heart. They seem to be cheerful - if self-deprecating on occasion, ribbing themselves about their height to strangers, for instance, and it goes on from there - in the face of the many trials that occur when the most vulnerable parts and pieces of people are hung up on the line, openly targetable. It might be easy for this to happen. Lots of people put on the good faces, even when, in the deep down reaches of themselves, there's hot lava and a blaze just spewing and churning, ready to be set off. Everyone walks around with a part of themselves broken and bent out of shape, a little portion of themselves out of synch and crumbling thanks to the nature of loving and trying to be loved by other people. It's mostly an unwinnable situation as the two twins from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, have been suggesting for years and years with their incredibly fetching and catchy songs about the greatest sorrows known to women and men. There is no way of getting out of this life without being disregarded and left to breathe alone. There is no way to get out of this without being used once or twice, being toyed with and hurt once or twice and so it may be better off to take the mood of the Quins and just turn the muddy straw into shiny gold and try to grin it off. It seems that over the years, Tegan and Sara, the girls, not the band, have found new ways to sort out and deal with the woesome hollowness that getting a heart busted tends to bring on. At first, it was feeling very angry, very vocal and very hurt - looking at the world as if it were quickly falling in on itself. With "If It Was You" and "So Jealous" there was much frustration and the troubles that were being experienced were those of people at an age when there is no limit to the amount of betrayal or confusion associated with a relationship that ends with the other person telling you that they just aren't in love with you any longer, that things have changed and there's no undoing them. There's pleading and wanting and all kinds of ugly thoughts that eat at a mind when this happens and those things were all channeled into the songs that the girls split lead writing duties on. They were caught up in their pains and those failed loves. There was nothing else that mattered and that's how they lived and ached. One wonders what they'd do with themselves if they didn't have such jagged love affairs, if somewhat calmer waters settled over them and they were able to feel more secure with what they've got. And of course, all of this could be an inaccurate take on their personal relationships, and they could be terminally happy with whomever they're currently with. So, the grains of salt are scattered here a bit, but on "Sainthood," the band's latest record, there's more of a piss and vinegar sensation to the proceedings as if the needles and the jabs, the agonizing hurts are being curbed by some newly formed resiliency - or something masquerading as resiliency. Tegan and Sara are baring their teeth, dirtying up their sound with some 'tude, making their breakups and sketchy times sound like a scuffed up pair of Chuck Taylors and less sentimentality. Even on "Sentimental Tune," they sing of something like a fortified backbone and a curled top lip, "Now with your cause and affection on my mind, I won't yield, throw caution into the blaze/Watch, with a bit of friction I'll be under your clothes/With a bit of focus I'll be under your skin." It's as if THEY'RE getting under the skins now and it's changing things. It's rearranging the thought processes and it's changing the Quins, those fighters.