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Tegan & Sara

Heartthrob (Warner Bros.)

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013 Records

Tegan & Sara

Heartthrob (Warner Bros.)

Bicoastal Canadian twins Tegan & Sara emerge from a four-year focus on other projects with their seventh LP, a glossy song cycle of sex, devotion, and heartbreak, heavy on the heartbreak. Beginning with the naughty promise of "Closer," which voices a transgressive assertion of female sexual desire, the duo rapidly devolves into a string of whiny mash notes accentuated by tinny, synth-heavy instrumentation. One exception, "Shock to Your System" builds an enormous musical scaffold, from a tick-tocking bass-and-tom beat on the bottom to glimmering rhythm guitar on top. Plaintive torch song "Now I'm All Messed Up" comes up the most affecting, with the sisters trading off contrapuntal lyrics pleading, "Go if you want/please stay," a sentiment echoed by longtime fans who miss the snarky, hipster angst of the group's earlier work. (11:05pm, Belmont; Thu., 12:15pm, Austin Music Hall)

**.5

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