I was out for a Sunday drive when I first slid Sainthood into my player. Autumn’s colorful foliage and crisp, cool air put a relaxed smile on my face. But suddenly, as the first 10 seconds of “Arrow” played, my hands gripped the wheel tightly. My heart pounded. My smile turned to panic. I felt like I was trying to meditate in a room where someone was playing “Call of Duty.” The paranoia that overtook me didn’t relent for all 37 minutes of Tegan and Sara’s sixth studio album. “Not one ballad?” I whispered as I suspiciously looked over my shoulder.
If you’re looking for the fun, playful pop tunes sprinkled throughout T&S’s catalog, go back and listen to The Con. Sainthood is fast, thin, industrial and a bit sterile. I’d like to blame co-producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) because he’s a drummer. But he also worked on The Con, so forget that. “Alligator” is about the only song I can sit though without getting the Red Bull jitters.