Just as Tegan And Sara's "Walking With A Ghost" has finally stopped looping endlessly in our heads, the Canadian duo return with a new collection of infectious tunes, The Con. Once again they have provided us with melodies that are totally memorable, as the single "Back In Your Head" is the type of song you find yourself humming for weeks. More on that particular song in just a bit.
For The Con, the sisters teamed up with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla as co-producer. Walla appears on several tracks on guitar, and he's not the only guest musician on the album. Flipping through the liner notes, one also spots former Weezer gone Rentals Matt Sharp assisting on bass, Kaki King on lap steel, Death Cab's Jason McGerr on drums and AFI's Hunter Burgan on bass. We'll just ignore the AFI part.
The album opens up with the mellow "I Was Married," a quick song with interesting guitar starts/stops, keys and vocal harmonies. It is a nice setup for "Relief Next To Me," a steady track with a rigid pulse throughout the first minute. Once the drums kick in, that beat is continued by the keys, keeping the hypnotic feel going. The nearly '80s rock feel to the conclusion, with electric guitars colliding with both sisters' vocals, makes for an awesome payoff.
The album isn't without a few stumbles, such as the title track, which comes across as a more rockin' pop song from Pink or Avril at times. I know, that is a bit harsh, but I prefer Tegan & Sara to have a bit more of a raw edge to their sound. Their pop is powerful enough without too much of a glossy sheen. This is exactly what they do on the maddeningly awesome single, "Back In Your Head." The instrumentation remains somewhat simple, allowing the melody to carry the track on its own. It is pop perfection.
When you shoot for fourteen songs on an album, sometimes it might be wise to just save a few of those for b-sides. Taking those few tracks out of the equation, Tegan And Sara have given us a great summertime album containing more than enough memorable melodic moments. When the girls keep it a bit more old school, such as on the amazing "Burn Your Life Down," which is easily one of the strongest bits on The Con. Sara's vocals fill with emotion as she belts out "I break my heart around this."
All in all, I really enjoyed The Con. From the interesting drum patterns (provided by McGerr) on "Floorplan" to the simplicity of "Soil, Soil," Tegan And Sara have given us another collection of solid pop songs, and if "Back In Your Head" does't make you fall in love with these girls again, something is wrong with you.
"Back In Your Head"