Having discovered and become addicted to Tegan and Sara's 2004 album 'So Jealous' over the last few weeks, I bought this earlier album, not daring to hope it would be as good. How wrong I was! 'If It Was You' is even more original and exciting than 'So Jealous', although it is more of a 'grower', so takes a few extra initial plays to become addictive. It is punkier, rockier, and more exuberant. I'm in love with this music! Tegan and Sara's sound is essentially fresh and original, and their incredibly catchy tunes, clever lyrics and superb musicianship demand frequent replays. I haven't been so enthralled for a long time.
One thing that sets Tegan and Sara apart is their unusual approach to collaboration. They work separately as songwriters, coming together with each other and the band only to record, perform and tour. It's surprising and interesting to learn that although the sisters sound as though they're harmonising on most of their album tracks, this is actually an illusion, created by multi-tracking. With rare exceptions, Tegan sings all the vocal tracks on her own songs, and so does Sara. On this album, Tegan's songs are Time Running, You Went Away, City Girl, I Hear Noises, Living Room, And Darling, and Don't Confess - while Sara's are Monday Monday Monday, Not Tonight, Underwater, Terrible Storm, and Want to Be Bad. Careful listening armed with this information reveals that the twins have entirely individual approaches to songwriting, with Tegan writing the more classically addictive hooks and personal lyrics, while Sara is the more abstract and unconventional of the two. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the album works brilliantly as a whole. There are no weak tracks here. Highly recommended, both to existing fans and people looking for an introduction to Tegan and Sara.