Tegan and Sara
Reduced to hard, cold factoids, Tegan and Sara sound like they were dreamed up by a focus group convened in an alternate-universe shopping-mall food court: two Canadian sisters, both lesbians, who play zippy folk-pop with careful harmonies out of the Indigo Girls songbook, clipped guitar strums cribbed from Elastica's first album and the kind of keyboard doodles commonly found in songs by Josie and the Pussycats (here provided by former Weezer/Rentals guy Matt Sharp). What's unexpectedly great about So Jealous, the duo's fourth studio album, is how breezily they circumnavigate the preciousness of their concept: Fresh-faced blasts of jumpy rhythm and spearmint melody like "You Wouldn't Like Me," "Take Me Anywhere" and "I Won't Be Left" sound as natural and intuitive as four straight white guys often do, with the added bonus that they're not four straight white guys. (This helps sell the tongue-in-cheek self-loathing the sisters occasionally indulge in, a possible aftereffect of listening to too much Juliana Hatfield.) The greater accomplishment? Not slowing things to a dead standstill on heavy-hearted minor-key ballads like "I Can't Take It" and "Downtown." Today, Sbarro; tomorrow, the world.
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