Sound: The sound of the Canadian duos sixth studio album is a clear and quite natural progression of the sound the two have formulated over their 10+ years making music. From the early, primarily acoustic, albums they have slowly added electronics via keyboards/moogs etc.
"Sainthood", it's fair to say, picks up where "The Con" left off - electronically at least.
The Quin twins have said this is more of a "full band" album, and it's easy to hear why. Instead of the guitars leading, the sound of each song is built up of all the instruments together. The drums are kicking, the bass is full and chunky, and the keyboards are out in force. This does give the whole album a nice full sound. // 10
Lyrics: It's been all over the 'net that Tegan and Sara attempted to write songs together for the first time in their musical hstory. The two set aside time in New Orleans to work on songs, however none of these songs made it onto the album itself.
Because of this there is still the Tegan or Sara feel to "Sainthood", but this is in no way a bad thing. Personally I like the different lyrical styles of the twins. Each gives a nice perspective, whether it be a metaphor, or spelled out for the listener.
This album has the feeling of being slightly 'hookier' than previous albums. Whether this was intentional or not it makes for compelling listening. It would seem natural that Tegan & Sara are widening the perspective of what it is they sing about. "Sainthood" does seem to contain songs of love, but also daily life/troubles/etc. that made "The Con" such a strong album. // 10
Overall Impression: 2009 does seem to have been a brilliant year musically. We've had a new Brand New album, new stuff from Paramore, A.F.I, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Rain Machine and many more. I am pleased to say that Tegan & Sara's "Sainthood" sits proudly in the top 3 of my favourite albums this year. It is even growing to be one of my favourite albums of all.
Does it compare with their other studio albums though? Put simply: Yes, and then some. Throughout the T&S albums there is a natural progression of the music, and lyrical maturing too. All this comes together in "Sainthood" and old fans will not be disappointed. And many new fans will be made, I'm sure.
With bands around today it is difficult to find something fresh and uplifting to hear. Something that you have no problems listening to on repeat for, say, 3 1/2 hours solid while doing nothing more than googling or sitting in awe. T&S and "Sainthood" is and does exactly this, and more.
Choosing favourites on Tegan & Sara albums is always a difficult choice, because of the wide range. It's hard to choose stand outs on such a hooky and sing-along album as "Sainthood" but, if pressed, I'd say "Arrow", "The Cure" and "Hell" were all fantastic, but my favourite has to be "Alligator" (sorry Tegan).
The only minor negative I could find (and I had to search deep) was that there isn't really the simple acoustic ballad type song there has been on previous albums. This is simply solved, however, if you hear the iTunes bonus songs Light Up and Wrists. There, flawless.
If the heavens opened up and destroyed all of my worldly possessions, Tegan & Sara's "Sainthood" would be one of the staple items I'd need to rebuild my shattered life. Keep it up ladies. // 10