Full of undeniable electro hooks and concise melodic daggers, “Love You To Death” is a true celebratory triumph
It takes a while for an act to find that perfected calling card. In a financial game which puts added pressure on acts to find that winning formula within months rather than years, it’s a welcome relief to see acts truly hitting their stride after years of experimentation. That’s exactly where Tegan & Sara find themselves. Less than a decade ago these Canadian twins would of found themselves more likely to tour with Death Cab For Cutie than release an album of undeniable pop bangers – but in 2016 Tegan & Sara have done precisely that. Full of undeniable electro hooks and concise melodic daggers, “Love You To Death” is a true celebratory triumph.
Previous LP “Hearthrob” was a rapturously received departure for the Quinn twins, embracing a distinctly more electronic foundation that saw them play the biggest stages of their career and influence a new era of acclaimed pop, and it’s clearly something that has rubbed off to form the basis of their next assault on the music collections of thousands. From the shimmering reverbs of opener “That Girl” to the night laden nursery chimes of “BWU”, “Love You To Death” is a record that doesn’t relent in its burning ambition from start to finish.
Revelling in unadulterated pomp, notably with the synth-soaked “Boyfriend”, “Love You To Death” is a concise, fat-trimmed serving packed full of nutrient pop nuggets. “Dying To Know” is a sass-filled cry of heartbroken exes (complete with the viciously aimed question “is the one you ended up with everything you wanted?”) while “Stop Desire” is the sort of summer anthem that would turn any mournful weekend into a joyful bonanza – a bold emphatic statement of pop dominance. There’s a real efficiency to it all, anthem after anthem of soaring hooks and an unabashed crystallised sheen that hits time after time.
Blurring that line between masterful new wave hits and the sugary pop magic of neon 80s nights, it reaches another league on standout single “U-Turn”, which in three minutes manages to nail the pop perfection that Katy Perry has been longing for her whole career. Cascading synths and a chorus that could take down buildings, it’s an undisputed knockout. In fact, the pace only really subsides on the pumped up All Saints harmonies of “White Knuckles” sent through a digital scanner and the stripped back “100x”, a completely sparse break-up sway that jars on its own but in the context of the record comes as a welcome jolt from the blue. It makes for a truly complete record, and closed out by the neon midnight drive sound of “Hang On To The Night”, a slight detour from the action packed pop hit factory into a more panoramic electro soundtrack – nestled over bubbling synths and menacing vibrations.
It illustrates exactly why “Love You To Death” is such a vibrant success, a collection of masterful pop anthems that ebb and flow in all the right places. In a time where pop music has become a critically revered art form, there’s a true brilliance to the entire record, in a powerful combination of direct, immediate and undeniably revered pop classics in waiting. This is the sound of modern pop for a generation of adult listeners willing to let themselves free. Much like Taylor Swift in 2014 and Carly Rae Jepsen in 2015, Tegan & Sara may have just dropped the pop record of the year.
This Tegan & Sara article was written by Jamie Muir, a GIGsoup contributor