Music review: Tegan & Sara, Troxy, London


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The Independent Culture

The 32 year-old identical twins from Canada play the third of their four UK shows in East London's Troxy, filling the Art Deco theatre with their hardcore fans who singalong to nearly all of the 22 songs in their lengthy set.

Playing a selection of tracks from their previous six albums with a large chunk of their latest album, Heartthrob, it is clear that their time spent opening arena tours for The Killers and The Black Keys have given the sisters ideas about competing for a place in big-league pop. Even their older, more earnest, indie-folk songs are even given a synth push. 

There are some tracks left safe from the pop synths and heavy drums: delicately honed acoustic guitar number "Ghost" and "Back In Your Head" are touchingly melodic as is the piano-driven "I Was A Fool",  but most turn towards punchy pop with a rousing rendition of "Good Go" and "Closer" that gives the likes of Haim and Charlie XCX a run for their money. 

"Hop on a Plane" is dedicated to their mother whom they have brought on tour with them as part of a wholesome holiday. They thank her, thank the band, thank the fans, thank their support act and their friend Waxahatchee. They even thank the UK and the worst part is how earth- crushingly sincere they are in doing so unlike so many disingenuous pop acts  

Lyrically they deal with love, rejection, self-doubt and self-acceptance. In the second track of the night "I'm Not Your Hero" they talk about their being role models to other gay women: “I’m not their hero, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave... that doesn’t mean that I was never afraid.” And while sometimes the vocals are too loud or lost in echoes, it is remarkably refreshing to hear the genuine thoughts of two women who have brought an authenticity to saccharine synth pop with an honest acceptance of vulnerability of frankness, weakness but also empowerment. 

As the pair look back to teen pop idols and the intense emotion of their youth. The result is a pop set that shows their sincerity wrapped up in big, glossy pop that is faithful to the roots of their 16-year long music career. 

Their perspectives of 21st-century womanhood in the pop world of leather-clad brand endorsing, pop alter-ego serves as a great alternative. It's big, glossy pop with a backbone.