There's no through-line to the way Tegan and Sara think about romance on their seventh studio album. Sometimes love heals all wounds; other times it's the wound itself. And occasionally it serves as a mere accessory to more pressing matters, as in the disc's lead single, "Closer." "All I dream of lately," they sing over a throbbing disco-rock groove, "is how to get you underneath me."
Yet if "Heartthrob" presents a believably irregular vision of how love happens, the album does it with an immediacy and a directness that feels new for these Canadian twin sisters, who have built a devoted following of indie-minded fans. In "Goodbye, Goodbye" and "Drove Me Wild" they trade homey folk-pop guitars for sparkling new-wave synths, while "How Come You Don't Want Me" rides an '80s-style drum-machine beat reminiscent of the Human League hit that almost shares its title.