Tegan and Sara - Get Along (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Tegan and Sara

Get Along (2011)

Warner Bros.

The cover of Tegan and Sara's first physical live album, Get Along, states that it includes "15 T +S Classics." While it does feature three handfuls of the duo's most popular songs, the versions here aren't necessarily presented in their "classic" form. Rather, this release documents one of the twins' various incarnations.

Since their breakthrough album, 2004's So Jealous, Tegan and Sara have usually toured as a full rock outfit, complete with a backing band. Sometimes, however, they have played as a more sparse set up, sometimes with only the pair, or sometimes with minimal accompaniment. Get Along is unique in that it presents Tegan and Sara in a most minimal atmosphere.

Puzzling, however, is that on some of these recordings, there seems to be a full band backing them, but the drums, bass and keyboard have been mixed down to almost nothing, while Tegan and Sara are placed directly upfront along with their respective instruments. This choice is fascinating because it seems to be the first time that these songs are presented in an intimate but polished form.

In their earliest career, Tegan and Sara would play in a sort of folk-rock rawness. But here, while there is a folk sparseness, they play faint electric guitar and airy keyboards, which create a most unique texture. "Monday, Monday, Monday" with its few guitar strokes and almost new age keyboards, seems to resemble German industrial minimalism. "Back in Your Head," which was previously one of the duo's most energetic rockers, has been reigned in, and between its faint calls and tiny pings, almost seems goth a la Gene Loves Jezebel or Dead Can Dance.

It's a daring choice and certainly has its benefits. The clever and genuine lyrics of the women are given front row seating, allowing the listener to savor the message through clarity. "I Hear Noises" almost sounds like Sara is talking directly to the object of the song. But, in pulling back so much of the songs, some of their fiery unpredictability is absent, which might be one of the best thing about Tegan and Sara's live shows.

Get Along is a success in that it presents new, highly refined versions of these songs. But as representative of the group live, the download only Live At the Phoenix Theatre is probably a more accurate overview of the group during the last eight years. Still one wonders, perhaps that Get Along isn't so much a summary as it is a preview…