Tegan and Sara’s “Heartthrob” Gets My Heart Pounding

by Genevieve Bleidner

I’m stoked to say that even after a long break, indie-pop icons Tegan and Sara have still got it—as demonstrated one Thursday night in January when the Canadian sibling duo packed the basement venue at The Standard in the East Village. The sisters laid down old favorites as well as new tracks off their first album since 2009’s Sainthood. Both women took the chance between songs to get personal with the crowd, sharing the inspirations behind their new material and very new sound, and the intimate audience sang along to familiar lyrics and bobbed to the beats of what are sure to become new favorites. This session was just a slice of what is to come for the already widely loved duo, and so far the future sounds like a damn good time.

Though on the short side at just under 37 minutes, Tegan and Sara’s latest album, Heartthrob, is packed with memorable indie-pop tracks. Part of the reason Heartthrob works so well is that it has been trimmed of unnecessary filler; there isn’t a single “meh” track. “Closer” is the immediate standout, with a similar high energy and catchiness as the ’07 hit “Back in Your Head”. On the flip side there are anthems for the broken hearted, with standout ballads such as “I Was a Fool” and “How Come You Don’t Want Me” that make for the perfect music to rock out to in your car while tending to a damaged heart (of this, I am guilty as charged).

Looping synthed-up pop hooks with the lust and longing-fueled lyrics of songs like “How Come You Don’t Want Me”, Heartthrob melds relatable content with infectious dance music. Relying heavily on vocals and electronic beats, the album is a fresh reinvention of their sound, in which Tegan and Sara have taken risks to make familiar topics relevant again.

The ambition to create an entirely different sound from their previous records is impressively accomplished. With soulful, earnest lyrics and beats that are heavily influenced by iconic ‘80s music titans such as Cyndi Lauper, Heartthrob satisfies my need for danceable electro-pop with substance.

Tegan and Sara performed on Thursday January 17th, 2013 at The Standard, East Village, a Bowers and Wilkins Session, hosted by Annie O. and Standard Sounds and Heartthrob drops on January 29th!

Image Courtesy of Lindsey Byrnes via Warner Brothers Records 

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