Get Along/For the Most Part
Tegan & Sara
Release Date: Nov 15, 11
I have a complicated relationship with live albums. As a casual fan of the band, you are forced to connect with a bands live energy, which doesn’t always translate to an audible way. True, you can really hear Springsteen’s emotion coming through “Thunder Road” live, but without seeing his eyes squinting up as he elevates his tone and his timbre, you aren’t really “getting it.” Yet as a rabid fan you are vexed by the set list. (“They ALWAYS play this song.”) Very few live albums have made me feel like I am forever connected to it and they all have one thing in common: nothing is omitted. Every missed note, every flubbed lyric, every non sequitur is left in, making it a nearly true representation of how band presents itself live.
Tegan and Sara’s Get Along is, well, complicated. It is more than just a live album. It is accompanied by a three-part documentary, States, a kind of behind the scenes look at how the band started, India, a shorter doc showing the sister’s trip to India and For the Most Part, an intimate concert they put on for friends and family.
States is somewhat underwhelming. It does a good job showing the fans how Tegan and Sara spend leisure time (riding around in boats and standing awkwardly) but also has quick flashes of brilliance. A (too) short Q&A session with fans and some interesting and well-produced live songs make this section of the documentary enjoyable to a casual fan, but really doesn’t give bigger fans the unique glimpse into the sisters that they are looking for.
India is also somewhat confusing. You might think that a band takes a trip to India, claims to have some religious experience and comes back to America having seen god. This is not what happens. In fact, pretty much nothing happens. You see Tegan, Sara, their tour manager, their touring guitarist Ted, their mother and a couple of friends walking around an impoverished nation for 20 minutes and maybe a 15 second clip of them playing for an audience. It would have been nice to see them interacting with their Indian fans a little more. I am glad they had a nice family trip but I don’t think they need to include their home movies in the DVD release.
Finally, there is For the Most Part, a live, intimate display of what make Tegan & Sara truly unique; two insanely talented sisters with a true love of music and of each other. The concert has bits of banter and story telling spliced in in such a way that seems genuine and earnest and it is a very accurate representation of what it is like to see the group live. So much of the live show is the music obviously but it is also this back and forth the sisters have with each other that take it to another level and open themselves up for all of their fans to see. Though I was kind of upset to her that the interesting banter didn’t make it to the live audio CD.
The music itself is performed immaculately. Stripped down versions of tracks like “The Ocean” and “Knife Going In” are a breath of fresh air on a live album this is so full of deep cuts. Almost too deep. Obscure tracks like “Divided,” “Monday Monday Monday” and “Not with You,” add value for diehard fans. Though I would have liked to hear some more recent deep cuts (can I get “Soil Soil,” one time!?) it is a pretty accurate portrayal of what makes Tegan and Sara such an amazing live show.
Though this might not crack my “top live albums” list due to the set list leaving something to be desired and the lack of banter on the audio CD itself, it is great to see artists like Tegan & Sara continuing to evolve and challenge themselves. This is worth the pick-up for even the casual fan.