Tegan And Sara — Sainthood

Music Review
Tegan And Sara's Sainthood

After two albums mixing conventional tunes with more experimental, keyboard-based electronic pieces, Tegan and Sara Quin have produced their poppiest disc since 2002's If It Was You.

That's not to say that Sainthood sounds like the latter record, however. It's far more mature, and sees the twins exploring Leonard Cohen's idea of sainthood. The entire album is based on the following lyric from Cohen's "Came So Far For Beauty": "I practiced all my sainthood/I gave to one and all/But the rumours of my virtue/They moved her not at all."

Sainthood, then, looks at the act of loving someone — whether you're "meant to be with them" or not — and theorizes that when we concentrate on loving someone and do things to gain another's affection, we elevate part of ourselves to become more than we were before. Of course, this can be good and bad.

Appropriately, the twins balance each other out with the songs' subject matter. Sara Quin's tunes mostly examine what it's like to fall in love (opener "Arrow," "On Directing") and be in love ("Sentimental Tune," "Alligator") while Tegan Quin's tracks are mostly about what it's like to deal with unrequited love ("The Cure," "Northshore," "The Ocean").

At 37 minutes, Sainthood moves quite quickly and its songs are never over four minutes in length. Some of them have a more punky feel ("Hell," "Northshore") than anything the duo have previously released, and most of them don't even clock in at three minutes.

As great as So Jealous and The Con were, their main problem was a lack of stylistic focus. You got the feeling that they might have been trying to do too much. But with a narrow theme to work with, they've delivered their most focused, best album to date.

The Quins have long been obsessed with poetry and books, and Sainthood comes across as a very literary, mature record. It just may be a classic.

Get it from Tegan and Sara - Sainthood (Bonus Track Version)

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