Indie queens Tegan and Sara embrace a more bubblegumsound on their new album, Heartthrob.
It’s not easy to categorize Tegan and Sara Quin. Despite their petite frames, the 30-year-old, Canadian-born, identical-twin musicians can’t fit into just one genre. These sisters are edgy yet vulnerable, sarcastic but genuine and serious while remaining playful — and simply, as they’re known to their fans, Tegan and Sara.
“We were very tentative at the start of our career,” Tegan explains of how they’ve grown over the past 13 years. “We sort of knew going into this that, because we were twins, we were young and we were gay, that there would be a lot of people thinking it was just shtick or a record-company-concocted band. So we made choices very early on to make sure we were taken seriously.”
With the release of their seventh studio album, Heartthrob (Warner Bros., $12), Tegan and Sara are once again redefining any preconceived notions anyone may have had about them. Having previously suppressed early pop influences for more of an indie sound, the women credit mainstream acts like Rihanna, Alicia Keys and ’90s girl group TLC, along with the 2011 film Drive and the TV series The West Wing and Homeland, for inspiring the new album’s direction.
“It was kind of like our musical midlife crisis,” Tegan says. “We realized we didn’t want to make the same record we had already made. We started singing out of our range and really pushing ourselves.”
But while Heartthrob is perhaps fresher and brighter than previous efforts, it maintains classic Tegan and Sara elements, like their trademark haunting lyrics disguised beneath upbeat rhythms. The album is a reflection of the women’s lives and careers, from the pure feelings of high school love to the journey down the path to self-discovery.
“Our intention was to prove that no genre is off-limits for us,” Tegan says. “No matter how poppy our music is, we are still going to be Tegan and Sara. You can’t push that out of us.”