Canadian twins Tegan & Sara have long been a duo for unhappy teenage girls, but have done it the right way, emotional without pleading, catchy without being thin. 2013’s Heartthrob (QRO review) saw them shift from their indie-rock roots into a more synth-pop sound, continued on 2016’s Love You to Death (QRO review), something that they again managed to pull off. Now for Hey, I’m Just Like You they reach back, far back, to their troubled teen days, as they rework lyrics and even demoes done before they could vote into new songs, accompanied by their joint high school memoir, High School.
For those who didn’t like Tegan & Sara’s electronic shift, Hey is something of a return, but it still has synthesizers, if not the giant dance hooks. The sisters Quin can definitely empathize, whether sad on the title track or power-pop on the following “I’ll Be Back Someday”. However, the teen lyrics do become a little wrote after awhile, all about heartbreak and self-empowerment, and the mix of rock and electronica means that the album never really delivers the big, bold note like Heartthrob’s “Closer” or 2007 breakthrough The Con’s “Back In Your Head”.
Hey. I’m Just Like You obviously means a lot to Tegan & Sara, and the emotional soul-bearing of their tender teenage years, in it, High School, and the accompanying intimate acoustic tour with Q&A, will mean a lot to their fans, even if it doesn’t quite pop as majorly overall as prior work.