The Con review by Tegan and Sara

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  • Released: Jul 24, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (97 votes)
Tegan and Sara: The Con

Sound — 8
Tegan and Sara have attracted the attention of some heavyweights in the music industry, with everyone from Jack White to former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp covering songs written by the duo. With the identical twins' latest release The Con, listeners get a good indication what's behind all the intrigue. Most of the 14 songs on The Con are fairly unassuming, never relying on heavily distorted guitars or even that much of a rock element at all. Instead, Tegan and Sara have chosen to create more of a mood through elaborate, passionate vocals and subtle instrumentation underneath it all. The first track I Was Married is a perfect example of the twins' musical style. You immediately hear Sara Quin's vocals, which bounce from being a high-pitched cry to a sweet, child-like whisper. The track is backed only by piano/keyboards (all played by Sara) and bass work from Matt Sharp. It's one of the slower tracks on the CD, but that's not to say that the rest of the album is your typical rock release. The majority of the songs have a more laid-back, moody feel that rely heavily on Tegan and Sara's vocals to relay the emotions. The highlight of the CD is the title track, which utilizes everything in the band's arsenal. Sara and Tegan both help out on vocals on The Con, often doing rounds so that you've got several different vocal tracks occurring at the same time. It definitely has an alternative rock feel, and it features what sounds like a Moog keyboard (this time played by Tegan) backing up the guitars, bass, and drums. While the girls don't play drums or bass usually, they are still the sole songwriters. The Con is a fantastic example of the unusual arrangements that the girls come up with, and the fact that they do play half of the instruments on the song (and pretty much every other track) is all the more impressive. For those who still need a harder sound to their music, Tegan and Sara might not be the best choice. The girls have a lot of power in their delivery, but it still has a pop-oriented feel to it. Even so, the girls come up with some beautiful melodies and harmonies that sound flawless, and that in itself can be pretty powerful.

Lyrics — 9
There are a lot of emotions running through Tegan and Sara, and usually love and heartache are the girls' main focus. The sisters both write the lyrics for The Con, and thankfully both of them have a knack of taking the familiar topic of love and giving a little spin on it. In Back In Your Head Sara sings, Remember when I was so strange and likeable? I just want back in your head; I'm not unfaithful but I stray. Most of the songs are confessionals with whomever the objection of affection may be, and it's pretty interesting to be let in on those conversations. Much of the power from the lyrics comes from Tegan and Sara's vocal delivery. While the words might get a little too sappy or emotional for some, there's a passion in the way Tegan and Sara sing that allow the songs to never feel disingenuous.

Overall Impression — 8
While it seems like the pop-rock world has been bombarded by mediocre talent, Tegan and Sara represent the rare few who actually have the musical chops to back it up. While the duo sticks with a more benign fare of alternative rock tunes, they still have come up with some extremely likeable songs. The must-listen-to tracks on the records are The Con, Knife Going In, and Burn Your Life Down. What will be the main problem for some is the lack of edginess and good old-fashioned power chords on The Con. There is a bit of musical exploration with other genres, however, and the song Are You Ten Years Ago even dabbles in electronica. The exploration never gets too extreme, but it doesn't necessarily need to. Tegan and Sara have enough going on in the songwriting department that it doesn't necessitate a full-on orchestra to make it interesting.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

    this is my favorite cd's released so far this year. it's amazing.
    Tegan and Sara are the most underrated band ever...If they had dicks they would be messiahs...
    They were on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a couple of weeks ago. Conan went over to shake their hands and stuff after they performed and he had like two feet in height on them. It was really, really funny.
    They are twin sisters who are also lesbians. Noone said they had sex with eachother.
    I like Tegan and Sara. (To me) The Con is the album of 2007. I've been a long time fan and I still like their Under Feet Like Ours songs.
    The Con is definitely the best song on the album and, in my opinion, their best song. I'm glad UG did this review. :-D
    I got introduced to this album (hence the band) just recently. Love them, I give them a listen when I got this light, poppish feel.
    gregevans209 wrote: They're probably not even lesbians... remember t.A.t.U? That turned out just to be a marketing gimick... regardless they are good.
    no, they are for sure lesbians..Sara has a common law type thing in Canada with one of their merch people by the name of Emy Storey (she's awsome!) and Tegan is single right now but she has definatly had a a girlfriend in the near past.....anyway they are the most amazing musical artist to exist EVER!!! plus they are so effin adorable!!
    Sweet, a review for them! I'm so glad they're getting more recognition, got hooked listening to So Jealous and have been a huge fan ever since
    Yes, it's Hunter who plays bass on Tegan's songs. Kaki King plays on two of Sara's songs - Floorplan and Knife Going In.
    sbhudson86 wrote: Yes, Hunter from AFI played on some of this album. Chris Walla(death cab for cutie) produced the album and Jason McGerr from Death Cab played drums on the record.
    yeah, and let's not forgrt Matt Sharp ,who played on a couple of Sara's songs..I guess, TnS also had him playing on So Jealous record. The Con turned out really amazing! Technically it's their best album so far, but not my favourite (as I'm all So Jealous 100%fan + it's soo my Valentine's day sound )lol. Back to The Con - a sure must-have THING!
    yeah Hunter plays bass on all of Tegans songs (i think its her songs if not then its Sara) and kaki King played on some of the songs too which is awesome this is just an amazing album.
    @ tasty licks: fair enough...but not everyone is only into 'metal shredheads.' i think its great UG would put T&S on the homepage. Why not give exposure to such an awesome but underrated band? and they are actually about 27 years old i wouldn't refer to them as being 'little girls.'
    This albums great though my fave would be either 'So Jealous' or 'If it was you' I Love them.
    My friend's sister went to their concert. She said it was amazing. I'm so jealous. Tegan and Sara are an amazing band. I totally agree with the review, the songs heavily rely on Tegan and Sara's vocals. Their harmonies are from angels. Brilliant album.
    So i looked 'em up on youtube. Wow, their diction is ****in' terrible. Sounds like J-pop.
    tasty licks
    @anOnyMouSanIe: They're credible no doubt, and I never said they lack songwriting skills, I just dont think that the style of music is something typical for Ultimate Guitar reviews. I'd say the con is the best song I've heard, but the majority of it does lack intensity, and it's more pop than rock. I really wasn't trying to shoot them down, its just weird seeing it on here. I've gotten pretty used to metal shredheads in that spot on the homepage and not some facepainted little girls, so I had to click it, and then continued to stay surprised.
    they are lesbians and its not a gimmick, they don't even like talking about that stuff because people say things like that. and they are underrated XD they are my fav band, love them to death no mattr what people say
    Tegan and Sara are amazing! i love they're new cd it's my fav. cd release so far this year!
    theyre lesbians alright. and i have the hugest crush on sara, she lives near me too haha. maybe ive got a shot? im a pretty decent looking lady lol. but i definately agree with felix.. they are so underrated.. fortuantely they are getting so much more publicity with this album than they got with past ones (yes, even so jealous).
    oh how great it was to see this review on here. god I love these girls. can't wait to see them in December again!
    i've never heard of them until I read this review, but I just saw one of their videos on Youtube and I must say, they are pretty awsome.
    yes, hunter from AFI played bass on some tracks. the album was produced by Chris Walla of death cab for cutie. and death cab for cutie's Jason McGerr also played on it.
    Yes, Hunter from AFI played on some of this album. Chris Walla(death cab for cutie) produced the album and Jason McGerr from Death Cab played drums on the record.
    I've been a fan of theirs since the cd This Business of Art and I love everything they do. They are my favourite musicians of all time and this cd just solidifies their place in the music industry. I am so glad they are contractually obligated to do three more cd's because their music rocks my world.
    tasty licks
    hadn't heard of them so I went and checked out the myspace page. its got that all too familiar (unfortunately) indie nails on chalkboard feel to it. not my style. Just lacks any intensity or catchy melody... not trying to flame but why is this seriously on ultimate guitar? The guitar is very downplayed and more importantly, their guitar playing is far from ultimate.
    Burnt Ice wrote: Why is this on UG!?
    Because it's an album. I've heard a lot about these girls suddenly. First my sister told me of them, then I saw them in the paper, now on UG. They must be doing something right.
    ^lacks catchy melodies? The whole album is full of catchy melodies...and i have no idea how you can say 'the con' lacks intensity. They are on ultimate-guitar because they are incredibly talented songwriters. Though the guitar isn't necessarily hard to learn, it is definitely hard to create. They don't base the songs around some awesome guitar line...but they do use the guitar as the backbone of their songs. I don't see Avril writing and playing every guitar part on her songs. They are credible musicians.
    good for them,idc to much cause im not banging either one,if they play guitar great grand wonderful i dont give a shit,not unless.....nvm radther not say
    They're probably not even lesbians... remember t.A.t.U? That turned out just to be a marketing gimick... regardless they are good.