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November 17, 2011

Tegan and Sarah liven up old tracks

“Raw” is the best way to describe Tegan and Sara’s latest album Get Along (Live). The CD, its November 15 release accompanied by a DVD with the same title, invites fans of the Canadian indie band to witness an exclusive performance by the band for family and friends at the Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. The 15-track live album is composed of all previously recorded songs with brand new arrangements.

The two-format package will excite diehard fans for the insight it offers into the twin singer/songwriters’ lives. The three-part “documentary” includes footage from Tegan and Sara’s early tours of the U.S., their first tour of India, and the intimate performance in Vancouver featured on the CD. And, yes, these sisters get along!

The album offers a wide array of mostly unplugged versions of songs from the band’s repertoire, which spans ten years. It begins with “Alligator,” originally released in 2009 on Sainthood. While the studio version of the song was a lively, upbeat group instrumental, this live duo guitar and piano with vocal version is less exciting; the repetitive lyrics are just too much. However, the second song, “I Know I Know I Know,” is a reminder of the band’s strong vocal abilities. This live recording, its pace much quicker than that of the original, which appeared on 2004’s So Jealous, is a fresh take on the youthful love song.

Track six, an interesting rendition of the catchy “Back In Your Head,” showcases a dramatic arrangement. Beginning with strong and loud vocals—I forgot the guitar was there—the song shifts gears at the refrain. The powerful and gripping piano complements and underscores the passion behind the band’s honest singing, as it does throughout the album.

But the winner (and Tegan and Sara’s number one hit on iTunes) is “Call It Off.” The wistful execution of the song, including lyrics, “Maybe you would’ve been something I’d be good at / But now we’ll never know,” is the most raw song on the album. The guitar intro is reminiscent of Espen Lind’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in that the guitar accompaniment and solo in “Call It Off” captures the essence of the lyrics perfectly.

This album is no average 'greatest hits live” package. If you want a compilation of their best work, Tegan and Sara already have a $49.99, 130-item The Complete Recollection 1999-2010. But Get Along (Live) is fresh, risky and sincere rather than repetitive and safe. Listeners get a perfectly crafted presentation of the growth and maturity that Tegan and Sara have undergone. While the sisters have produced live recordings before, this album is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from them. Showing off a capability to innovate, Tegan and Sara have released the album to impress.

The quirky duo is already making plans for their next album, and rumor has it that the lucky producer could be anyone from David Guetta to a renowned country music pro. Evidently, after a solid and steady ten-year career, the twins are exploring new terrains and stepping out of their comfort zone. Whatever comes next, we can feel assured that it will be exciting and fresh!

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