Review ·

That Tegan and Sara have found some major label success is no real surprise. Strong female voices threaded through pop-punk energy has its built-in demographic. What is a little surprising is how well-executed their albums for Sire have been. The girls have ignored easy sounds, and instead have morphed the raw nerve of their early stuff into bracing and subtly varied power-pop. And Sainthood is another fine example of how Tegan and Sara's popularity has dovetailed with a solid musical maturity.


Part of that maturity here comes in the subtle flourishes they build into these songs, keeping an album that is almost uniformly mid-tempo feeling fresh all the way through. Each song is built on propulsive drums, with the vocals way up in the mix. But in that space in between, there's some great tinkering to be found. Opener "Arrow" for example is thick with a lush tangle of acoustic guitars. The sweet melody of "Red Belt" is rendered melancholic by cool, electronic blips. "Paperback Head" is all organ atmosphere and awkward chunks of guitar. And "Hell," the driving lead single, gets most of its energy from the airy treble producer Chris Walla soaks those power chords in.


Over all this music, Tegan and Sara deliver unsurprising force with their vocals. Each can cut a phrase off in anger, or stretch it out in anguish. The once fragile warble in their singing is a thing of the past, and in its place are two confident singers snarling through the heartache.


Lyrically, though, Sainthood might be a mixed bag. Most of the time, the girls deal in broad strokes, and while that lack of detail doesn't get them into huge trouble on the record, it doesn't usually do them any favors. That chorus on "Hell," for example, employs a formless angst on lines like "I know you feel it too, these words get overused," that would land much flatter if the song wasn't so damn catchy. But it is those inexact sentiments sometimes keep good songs from being great. Although, there are other spots where their murky lyrics are effective. When Tegan sings "I've got the cure for [the world's] crimes," she could mean nuclear war or not calling the next morning, and that flawed logic reveals a voice mired in loss.


All the way through, Sainthood hooks you immediately with melody, and then quietly chips away at you with subtle emotion. It might lack the breadth of sound and mood The Con had, but this is still a tuneful collection that stands up well enough on its own, and let's us know that Tegan and Sara aren't taking this whole major label turn lightly. Instead, they seem to be thriving on it. How refreshing.


  • "Arrow"
  • "Don't Rush"
  • "Hell"
  • "On Directing"
  • "Red Belt"
  • "The Cure"
  • "Northshore"
  • "Night Watch"
  • "Alligator"
  • "Paperback Head"
  • "The Ocean"
  • "Sentimental Tune"
  • "Someday"

Sainthood is the title of sister act Tegan and Sara's sixth full-length album. It also marks the first time that the duo, who always exaggerate their contentious relationship onstage, has ever written together. Speaking to, Tegan said, "We wanted to challenge ourselves, so we thought we’d sit in a room and force each other to write together. Sometimes it’s when you’re at your worst that you write your best music. Isolating Sara and I alone in a city where we knew no one after a big, long tour where we really just wanted to be at home, it put us really off guard. It was really complicated and difficult. The music that came out of it was really complicated and difficult"


The Quin sisters brought back Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla (The Con) to do the production on this album, as well as Howard Redekopp (So Jealous). "I think the fan favorites in terms of records have been our last two. So we brought in the production teams from both and made a hybrid of sound," Quin said on picking the producers.

Real Estate - Real Estate OOIOO Armonico Hewa

I miss the days of when Tegan and Sara were little 'Ani difrancos' in training. Jamming out on their acoustic they've sold out and have submitted to the damn record labels....

Angela Jezuit

I CAN NOT WAIT! they were never little ani difrancos. ani difranco is utterly amazing tegan and sara are amazing, but bot like ani....not at all like her.

girl please

i wouldnt entirely say they have "sold out" "selling out" is following mainstream and selling a bunch of records.

they dont sell a ton of records. their fanbase is from eons ago. yes, they have grown, but that was from hard touring here, there and everywhere.

and they've always had a label since TBOA, and been on a contract deal since IIWY... they've evolved and i think take a great part in the INFLUENCE in the trendy "indie/alternative/newwave/electrosynth" styles we see today.

..ahem. rant.


They've never sold out... and let me tell you something: they own their own record company, they are "indies" and very true to themselves and to their fans, I think you should research a little bit of info before you post anything...


tegan and sara are wonderful. always and forever.


sara has twittered that on the 20th of october sainthood will be able to be listened to all over the internet by everyone. whoop, whoop!


I don't see how letting people listen free on the web is selling out. T&S seem to shun the bigtime and rely on touring and GREAT MUSIC as their fanbase attractors.


it leaked, yeah yeah idc if that makes me a bad fan for listening to it b4 it releases. anways i really love tegan and sara but this album is sort of dissapointing, not trying to diss in any way i still love their work. Personally i rather listen to the live versions on youtube, those i absolutely love. The songs sound way better live than the actual tracks on the album, although alligator and someday were proably the only ones i rather listen to the album versions more... anways overall i guess i can say i like it... but im going to download only the live versions. to which is own i guess , live or album version w/ev... i will still always &forever be in love with their faces lol and artwork!! especially sara!!!

me again

this music shows no soul. it's nothing more than just a good beat. they need to take chris walla out of there or something because that guy has not been doing good to them in my opinion. I love their old music; cheers me up all the time. Rant rant rant. I am not one of their new lesbian fans. take me as a fan who knows all their songs by heart. (Im a gay guy and T&S helped me through it.) Even Tegan said so herself, if we don't like the new music, there's still going to be the old music to listen to.

What the hell was that about?!

No joke: I wanna cry thinking my two heroes are selling out


its not called selling out its called evolving, experimenting, adapting, creating, transforming....the new album sounds fantastic. a new sound for a new season and made with integrity. That is so true...for those of you who whine about how youre disappointed with the new album you can always stay buried in the comfortable past and listen to your hearts content the older music they have created...but for those of you that arent haters...sit back relax and appreciate their amazing talent in which ever way Tegan and Sara choose to express it


I feel bad for leaving that other comment. I take it back. I sure hope they don't sell out; because they haven't. I love their live shows.


I absolutely adore Tegan and Sara. I believe this new album has soul, and is not a sell out, in my opinion--in terms of timing, melody, & composition, SAINTHOOD is FAR from the tastes of what may be considered mainstream. It is experimental, and a great mix of the sounds that left us so excited and in love with from "So jealous" and "The Con". I have been streaming the songs on myspace for hours now, and cant get enough, really loving "Sentimental Tune" "alligator" "hell" "paperback head"and " arrow" and "someday". Thank you T&S for being so special and amazing, I'm a gay male, you have helped me so much through your music. <3


Cole says it well. I can't stop listening to Sainthood streaming on myspace! I love the new record and can't wait to blast it on my stereo at home and watch my parrot dance to the new songs especially "Hell". I love their previous records and always, always I love Tegan and Sara. They push the envelope on songwriting and their collaborated songs on this record really come together!


ok its paperback head, NOT heart


I like their new stuff, it sounded kinda weird at first, but so do some of their old songs, then you get used to it and love it. I mean, yeah their new music sounds different, but a lot of artists do that to experiment and try to attract new people. The Killers did the same thing. Their new stuff is so different from their old stuff from Hot Fuss and Sam's Town, but I LOVE it. I don't diss new music unless its ruining their reputation (Britney Spears *cough cough*). Now don't get me wrong, some of her new stuff is cool, but you could tell when she started changing and her music became less innocent and more seductive. That was a downer for me. T&S ALL THE WAY!!! :D


They sound the same to me, just a little more hip and creative.


well although i do appreciate death cab for cuties music..i agree that they defintely should not have had Chris Walla for their last album which was totally horrible...i really like this new album..but yeah with chris walla in it i dont think they are hitting their true potential. and for the girl that said they are like ani are mad..i totally dont like ani defranco and they are nothing like her.


Just a huge let down :o( I was really looking forward to this album, shame it's a load of crap!

But I'll still listen to pretty much ALL their stuff before this record coz their past stuff is ACE!


to be fair, the girl making the ani difranco comment only said she missed the days when they were ani's in training. which they were. unfortunately you'd have to go back past If It Was You to hear it. but the comment is accurate.

either way, love the old and the new.


I'm in the process of listening to the full album now, just bought it. . . I'm on the 3rd song (Hell) so I probably can't make any really good judgments, but from what I've hear, it's pretty good. I liked the last album the best, this one is definitely a change of direction, but hey - we all grow, right? It's been, what, 10 years since their first album? Nobody can say that they're not notably different from 10 years ago.

I think their past work has been more "raw" and vulnerable, which I really liked, but this new polished stuff is pretty good. They've got some nice beats.


I never heard a single tegan and sara song I didn't like until sainthood. I think the general sound is very radio-ish and writing together didn't exactly do wonders for their usual lyrical skill.


I love Tegan & Sara's new album "Sainthood" and think they are the coolest, young, finger-on-indie musicians around right now. And I am proud that they are Canadian. You go girls!


If they start showing T&A and jiggle videos, then they have sold out!!!(remember heart in the 80's?) as for now I feel they are following the same path as Elvis Costello or Steve Earle. Experimenting, Exploring,Inovating. Its all good with these two!!!!!


oh i love sainthood..
love it
love it
love it


mine broke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I almost feel bad posting on this, because I just discovered T&S a few weeks ago. I heard about them from a friend, and I've been listening to more and more indie music lately so I looked them up. And totally fell in love. I pretty much adore all of their music, but I agree the new stuff is a lot different from TBOA. They've changed as people, is that so bad? Also, just a note. When I was looking stuff up about them, I read that they did try to write together on this album, but nothing they came up with was good for them and they scrapped it all. I may be wrong, but I read it in a few other reviews.


they havent sold out. just because they got famous doesnt mean that they've changed and are just in it for the money. maybe being a fan of them and all you other guys should be happy that they are gaining more popularity? i think so.


When I got The Con I was sorta surprised at how short it was. The album was fantastic, it was just really short. So when I got their new album Sainthood I was hoping for a little more length and a little more of that raw energy and talent that they started with.
But.. the album was really short... again. That's honestly my only complaint. As much as I love the raw sound they used to have, this album is upbeat and kind of poppy without sounding too.. I don't know, mainstream. I like having this little piece of heaven without sharing it with everyone in the country =D
I do hope the next one is longer though...

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif Doni

9,9 on 10 (cuz maybe nobody is perfect) although these two are amazing !

I LOVE SAINTHOOD, GREAT SONGS, and the acoustic version of ALLIGATOR is fantastic.

Great job once again T & S


I really like this album.

I actually just made myself get this album, I had heard the leaks and wasn't impressed. Now that I made the purchase, I am sad that I prejudged so indiscriminately; and wasted my time not enjoying this album. I find it their most mature; which is the difference in the evolution of their music album after album. There is no more teen angst; younger disillusionment; the disillusionment has become relative to something else; because they have grown and changed through the years. Also, anyone that is saying that their last album was horrible; and is listening to this album... you know it wasn't horrible, because if it were, you wouldn't be interested in seeing what came next. If something is horrible, you move on and never look back. So stop looking back.

Eric Collins

i was so excited for this new album but when i heard it i was soooo disappointed. their old songs are sooo much better. they sound like regular old pop stars in this album. why do all the good singers have to change :(


I am the biggest fan ever. I have all Tegan and Sara's records and underground music. I have been to several shows and there is no other band that moves me like they do ok well ani difranco but shes not a band so that doesn't really count now does it.. but i have to say I do not like what they have done with this record sainthood.. the lyrics just repeat themselves.. my favorite thing about tegan and sara is that to the virgin ears words would make no sense but to people who have lived their tales and experiences it make perfect sense and become heart throbbing poetic.. but with this album its just repeated vocals and even most of the music just repeats..very simple lyrics. So jealous was an amazing album and it was a big step for them a drastic change i would say .. i encourage change.even though the older records were the best and very deep. but this album is way to simple .. needless to say I did not go on to see them when they came to my town .. though i am still a hardcore fan..I still appreciate tegan and sara to the fullest and will continue to buy their music


this new album is definitely the best album of all tegan and sara's albums! love it!


This is a great album a sign that both girls can embrace all styles of music not just one style but a hybrid of many. I love their old stuff as much as the new, but I think this album shows a maturity and a sense of enlightenment about life, love and this world and I am excited what will be next.


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