Although always writing separately, the initial blueprints for The Con, saw the twins geographically distanced — Tegan in Vancouver, Sara in Montreal. Reunited and with demos in hand the pair moved to Portland with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists) at the helm, recording in his basement studio. Tegan and Sara laid down vocals, guitar and keyboards aided by Walla, Matt Sharp (from The Rentals), Hunter Burgan (from AFI) and Jason McKerr (from Death Cab for Cutie). The gambit worked — this collection of 14 tracks is Tegan and Sara’s most satisfying album yet. Piano and acoustic guitar ballads (“I Was Married”, “Soil, Soil”) sit comfortably next to electro-pop (“Are You Ten Years Ago”, “Burn Your Life Down”) and hook laden power pop numbers (“Hop a Plane”, “The Con”) that made So Jealous such a guilty pleasure.
Tegan and Sara – The Con
Not only is the musical hit-to-miss ratio the best it’s ever been but the bar is raised lyrically too. The simplistic one paragraph stanzas of “Walking With a Ghost” and “Monday Monday Monday” from previous albums have been replaced with narratives about painful childhood memories (“Like O, Like H”); a lover with commitment issues, (“Back In Your Head” containing the memorable “I’m not unfaithful, But I’ll stray”); and even an acknowledgment of the darkness of the lyrics (“Knife Going In’s” statement that it’s “The kind of song I know causes mother, sister, lover worry”). A Con? Not a chance.