Tegan and Sara mine the past for Hey, I’m Just Like You | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Tegan and Sara mine the past for Hey, I’m Just Like You 

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click to enlarge Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara

Trevor Brady

The last time Canadian twin-sister duo Tegan and Sara came through Chicago, they were on the road celebrating the tenth anniversary of 2007’s The Con. At the time, it seemed like a fairly standard move—lately it seems like practically every long-running band has dusted off a fan-favorite album for a special show or tour. But what could’ve been just a victory lap became the catalyst for a revitalization. According to an interview the duo did with Apple Music, revisiting The Con inspired a burst of introspection that led to two major projects, the first of which is their recent memoir, High School, which looks back on the sisters’ adolescence. While working on the book, they came across demo recordings and lyrics they’d created as teenagers, and they turned that long-discarded material into the base of their brand-new record, Hey, I’m Just Like You. The twins rewrote and rearranged those fragments into songs that connect the ragged alternative rock they made early in their career with the joyful synth-pop that they currently specialize in. That delicate balance between new and old shines on the title track, an excited ode to outcasts finding each other that’s anchored by stark guitar and shimmering synths. Slow burner “Don’t Believe the Things They Tell You (They Lie)” starts with short guitar strums and ominous, warbly synth and builds to a surprising, explosive spaghetti-western style guitar solo as Tegan and Sara aim their ire alternately at themselves and at a nebulous group of liars. On Hey, I’m Just Like You, the messiness and isolation of growing up queer, the fierceness necessary to establish a life on your own terms, and the pain and joy of that journey are all on display. Tegan and Sara have captured the urgency of their 1996 selves while crafting an album that still feels like a step forward.   v

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