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Music | POP MUSIC REVIEW

Tegan & Sara offer post-punk energy

The Canadian twin sisters show a surprising maturity at the Knitting Factory.

January 24, 2003|Natalie Nichols | Special to The Times

The Canadian duo Tegan & Sara continued the grand rock tradition of onstage sibling rivalry during their Knitting Factory show on Wednesday. But thankfully their charms weren't limited to the novelty of being 22-year-old twins sporting guitars and attitude.

With their shaggy dark hair and entertaining between-song banter about such wide-ranging topics as Jennifer Lopez and their grandmother's New Year's Eve mohawk, the Calgary-born Quin sisters were vaguely reminiscent of the Breeders' twin creative engines, Kim and Kelley Deal.

Indeed, one could hear the angular ferocity of Kim Deal's old band the Pixies in such songs as the raggedly catchy "Time Running."

Backed by a bassist and drummer, they swapped vocals and harmonized effortlessly, trading acoustic and electric guitars during the hourlong set. The selections blended folky minimalism and post-punk visceral energy with dark images of romantic loss, fixation and confusion.

The feelings they addressed were universal, but the portraits they sketched were often unusual, such as the disturbingly obsessed narrator of "Living Room" and the quietly despairing companion in "I Hear Noises."

Their songwriting resembled alt-folk-pop icon Ani DiFranco's way of turning highly personal moments into works that are more than mere confessions, and it was heartening to hear such emotional maturity and craft in these young artists.

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