Seven albums in and Tegan and Sara are still singing about being poetically heartbroken and desperate. Consistency isn’t always a good thing.
Quite a few tracks fall short of ironic pop and find themselves stuck in girl band territory. I Was A Fool is the first instance of this, where they lose a bit of their edge and end up sounding like any standard chart topping pop artist from the noughties, sickeningly sweet and a bit too naïve. How Come You Don’t Want Me and Love They Say have the same effect later on in the album, the latter an ode to the power of love, probably one of the few positive things they have to say on it.
With its stance firmly in electronica pop, ‘Heartthrob’ often regains its balance of heartsickness with an edge. And whether intentional or not, Tegan and Sara use some incredibly clever ‘80s and ‘90s influences.
But for the diehard fans who have been waiting for a new album since 2009’s’ Sainthood’, don’t freak out, the new record won’t completely let you down. Some tracks are undeniably Tegan and Sara and these are the tracks that will stand out to you. I’m Not Your Hero particularly stands out as the duo getting back to their roots.
Tracks like Closer offer an upbeat synth sound that emulates sophisticated pop, if only the rest of the album followed in such a manner. In singing lines like “I won’t treat you like you’re typical” the duo set you up to believe something of the album that just isn’t true.
At the heart of it all, ‘Heartthrob’ is a record about heart break riddled with synth driven power ballads.
Unfortunately having only a few tracks on an album stand out and impress is not enough. Far too many tracks sound like they belong on a classic Britney Spears record, even going so far as to emulate Katy Perry on I Couldn’t Be Your Friend; so much so it’s almost indistinguishable. Tegan and Sara have left their signature vocal play and harmonies behind in place of a new pop sound that will leave die hard indie fans mourning.