[28 October 2009]
The hardest part of reviewing Meg and Dia’s Here, Here, and Here is avoiding comparisons to If It Was You-era Tegan and Sara. But there’s no reason that those comparisons need to be avoided. It’s not just that both groups are named after the two young sisters that front them, but there is a similar sound as well—it’s a sassy, girlish, pop-punk spirit that imbues both albums. Much like If It Was You, Here, Here, and Here is lots of fun, but rarely transcends “fun”.
This is in part, perhaps, because of Meg and Dia’s youth. While the songs detail life’s troubles and a desire to escape them (“I’m going away / I’m going my way” goes the chorus in the album opener, “Going Away”), the songs are also fueled by the kind of soul-searching that accompanies young adulthood. In “What If”, the chorus questions “What if I find my purpose first / What if I fulfill my life’s work / What if you counting on my failure made me live”—not the sort of questions you’d find a songwriter asking at 40. Or even 35. Or 28.
However, that’s not to say listeners of any age can’t enjoy rocking out to Here, Here, and Here, an album full of catchy numbers. The songs, penned by Meg Frampton and performed by sister Dia Frampton, feature plenty of irresistible hooks. “Hug Me”‘s chorus “I can’t lie, I was brainwashed to be honest / In this brave new world that slowly passes by” has a remarkable ability to stick in your head long after its three-and-a-half minutes fade.
There is also something exciting about the obvious potential of Meg and Dia, especially when it comes to Meg’s songwriting. A song like “Inside My Head” has the stream of consciousness of most tweens’ blogs, and relies on rhymes like head/bed. But then there will be a couplet like “He used my palm as an ashtray / And that was on his good days”. Similarly, “Hug Me” raises questions of race, gender, and religion (albeit briefly). If they can maintain their energy and enthusiasm while they mature, they’ll be quite an exciting band.
Meg and Dia are not, however, the only members of the band; nor are they the only ones there are to love. The guitar work by Carlo Gimenez is excellent, and his solo on “Are There Giants Too, In the Dance” bolsters the song tenfold. Gimenez turns out catchy riffs throughout the album, and they are the perfect counterpoint to Dia’s voice. Here, Here, and Here is also their first album to utilize synths, strings, and harmonica, so their musical growth is clearly underway.
Whether or not the Tegan and Sara comparisons will be put to rest here, here, and now remains to be seen, and Meg and Dia’s next effort will reveal a great deal about that. For now, they’ve given us a fun, high-energy album to enjoy.