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Tegan and Sara

Friday, June 27 @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, 10 p.m.

Jun. 16, 2014
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Last year Tegan and Sara released a pop album. That shouldn’t be a shocker: The Canadian sister-sister duo has been releasing pop albums—great ones—for more than a decade now. But 2013’s Heartthrob was a pop album in the truest, most commercial sense, an album that was slicker than anything the duo had done before and unapologetic in its aim of reaching an audience beyond the group’s most loyal followers. It was, to use a term that independent artists dread, Tegan and Sara’s sell-out record, and fans notoriously hate these kinds of commercial grabs. Just ask Liz Phair, who never recovered her reputation after releasing an especially clumsy one in 2003.

But Tegan and Sara, thankfully, are not Liz Phair, and there was nothing clumsy about Heartthrob, an album that beefed up the synthesizers without compromising the incisive songwriting that has always been the duo’s draw. Few artists have detailed the psychological toll of codependent relationships with more wit or insight than the Quinn sisters, and on Heartthrob their songs remain as sharp as ever. So yes, it’s a pop album, but it’s a decidedly adult one—the rare sell-out record that succeeds in its ambitions of growing an artist’s audience without diluting the charms that earned them an audience in the first place.


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