Tegan & Sara’s ‘Heartthrob’: Review Revue

Sam Lansky | January 29, 2013 12:25 pm

Pretty much everyone has fallen in love with Tegan and Sara‘s latest release Heartthrob, as well they should: Shimmering and electrifying, sad and euphoric, it may be their strongest set yet. Our own Stephen Sears raved about the album in his review, and most other reviewers echoed his sentiment: Even as the sisters Quin depart from their guitar-driven sound, they’ve managed to translate it into something even more dynamic.

Head after the jump to read what all the critics had to say.

:: Spin noted that the genre departures didn’t require them to compromise their artistry: “The album’s electro trappings may feel odd at first, but that sensation quickly fades thanks to the smooth, inviting textures — the Quins never sound like anyone but themselves. Whether sharing close harmonies or trading lead vocals, the sisters retain the engaging conversational style that values down-to-earth expressiveness over showy theatrics.”

:: The Los Angeles Times felt that the album showcased the duo’s evolution: “Yet if Heartthrob presents a believably irregular vision of how love happens, the album does it with an immediacy and a directness that feels new for these Canadian twin sisters, who have built a devoted following of indie-minded fans… But in urgent, deeply felt tunes such as ‘Closer’ and ‘I’m Not Your Hero,’ Tegan and Sara appear determined to be understood — inconsistencies, contradictions and all. Juicy, radio-bait choruses may just be a means to an end.”

:: The New York Daily News thought that the album was more commercial, and that wasn’t a bad thing: “They punch out nearly every lyric, matching them to a notably brisk and spiky brand of indie-pop. The result can sound like two Saturday morning cartoon characters who just downed 10 bowls of Fruity Pebbles. Heartthrob represents a major rethink on their style, a potentially far more commercial one. Rather than the darting, nerdy guitar-based sound of old, they’ve gone for something richer and deeper, found in the soft pillows of synth-pop.”

:: Rolling Stone also thought that the transition from guitars to synths worked nicely: “Tegan and Sara first built a legion of dedicated fans as a heartfelt folk-rock duo, but the past few years have seen the sisters evolving as pop artists. Their latest, Heartthrob, embraces undeniably dance-y synth-pop, deep bass and gigantic, enveloping hooks quite removed from the guitar-based music they made their name with.”

:: Time felt that this album felt more fun than previous efforts: “Now the duo has fully embraced their pop sensibilities, crafting club-ready dance songs with an indie rock edge. The result is an incredibly catchy, fun album with immediately infectious hooks, toe-tapping head-bobbing beats and songs that will be stuck in your head for days.”

:: Pitchfork noted that the songs feel “amazing” (and they’re definitely right): “The Roxette and Cyndi Lauper-referencing, soaring keyboard pop of Heartthrob is a welcome stylistic reconciliation, if one that sacrifices their sonic weirdness. On Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara sing about solitude, regret, and self-loathing alongside romance, but most of its 10 songs feel amazing. That’s not a sign of cognitive dissonance, but their considerable abilities fusing with those of Kurstin to drag their music out of headphones and into zones of unabashed communal euphoria and delight.”

:: The Village Voice loved how much love there was on the album: “Heartthrob mainly concerns itself with love — love that starts out obsessive, wild and lustful, but inevitably deteriorates over time through self-doubt, screw-ups, or simply boredom — and its 10 songs are neon-hued even when the pain is acute.”

General consensus: The new Tegan and Sara album is amazing. Go and listen to it.