At this point, more than 15 years into a career, audiences know what to expect out of Tegan and Sara. Their first live album and their seventh studio album, Get Along is unlikely to change one’s opinion about the Canadian twins, but for fans of the group, Get Along’s collection of acoustic songs is a worthwhile purchase. Being a live album, Get Along brings nothing new to the table, but it’s shows an interesting perspective of the Quin sisters.
Tegan and Sara have always had a punk energy and anger about them, from 2000’s This Business of Art to the more recent Sainthood. Get Along, on the other hand, brings a more subdued environment to the twins’ music. Most songs are simply arranged for the acoustic guitar, with bits of infrequent percussion and harmonies. It’s a stripped down and bare collection of songs that offers a raw look at the music of Tegan and Sara.
What are not lost are the twins’ pop sensibilities—the hooks are still present in the music; not surprising considering the material has not changed. But, the acoustic set lets the twins give a more emotional performance. Vocals are not perfect—they sometimes break and there is a lo-fi vibe to the entire album. Yet, this is part of the charm of a live set. The artists are allowed to show another side of themselves and take risks that otherwise would not be made. In this aspect, Get Along is quite successful. In particular, for the setting and instrumentation, “Call It Off” shines from the emotion clearly present in the twins’ harmonized vocals.
However, the problem with Get Along is that it adds nothing to Tegan and Sara’s discography. Die-hard fans may seek out the record, but casual fans and newcomers won’t be presented anything that is done better than in the studio. The most disappointing aspect of the album is the complete lack of power that one would expect from Tegan and Sara. While they should be commended for branching out and creating a mainly acoustic set, this doesn’t play to their strengths. Tegan and Sara have always been more Ramones than Joni Mitchell and a live album might have been better showcasing their strengths rather than trying to show their creativity.
After a collection of fantastic energetic indie pop albums, Tegan and Sara have released a decent, but not groundbreaking live album. One can’t help comparing Get Along to Tegan and Sara’s excellent studio albums—but this is an unfair comparison. Get Along adequately fills the empty niche of a live acoustic in the twins’ growing discography, but it’s not special.
Given the twins’ recent output, this might be considered a disappointment, but it is the rare live album that lives up to the standards of a proper studio album. From this context, Tegan and Sara’s first live album can be considered a success. This album is unlikely to grab new listeners, but for current fans, it should be enough to quell their interest until Tegan and Sara’s next proper album.
// Notes from the Road
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