Tegan and Sara
QMU, Glasgow, Fri 29 Feb
Poor Tegan and Sara. If it’s not their supposedly unfashionable asymmetrical haircuts (it’s the latest in Canadian coiffure), it’s the insipid curiosity with their private lives (they are twins and both lesbians) that feeds the growing fascination with this mesmeric sister-sister duo.
It’s hard to come up with a reason why the Quin sisters haven’t conquered the UK until now, eight years after they released their debut album on Neil Young’s Vapour label. They have shoe-horned in this Glasgow concert among a raft of sold out UK dates.
Perhaps they needed more time to develop their perky but puny acoustica into the polished, power pop of current album The Con. More likely they are riding high on the back of The White Stripes cover version of ‘Walking with a Ghost’, which was written by Sara Quin and appeared on T&S’ 2004 album So Jealous.
At any rate it was more than time. The Con, which was recorded with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, has a disarming fortitude that so often wanders off for a good weep in the corner in female singer-songwriter outfits of this type.
The Tegan-penned title track – the girls write all the songs separately – is as good a lesson in dynamics as exists in a pop song about letting go of love. ‘Dark Come Soon’ swirls and swims in a deft hypnotic hook; ‘I Was Married’ is tenderly poignant and persuasive at the same time. The duo’s girlish but yearning harmonised voices drives the album forward to a satisfying climax and on the live stage it’s devastating.
Their music is an emotional wringer, but a definite keeper.