To be extremely accessible is not a sin. Don't dismiss it as saccharine just because it's honest pop. Tegan and Sara's Sainthood is the best collection to date by these prolific and much-discussed Canadian twins. It's also a clear homage to some of the best female pop of the last 30 years—especially acts like the Bangles and Joan Armatrading—yet somehow not overtly retro. (One exception is "Alligator," which rides roller-rink rhythms unmistakably inspired by early Madonna.)
Though it's easily digestible, I wouldn't call Sainthood sweet. Ingenuous—as in honest—is a better word. The lyrics read like a diary, but use an accessible pop vocabulary that avoids overweening angst or pop-psychology cliché. In "Northshore," the central problem of there being "something so sick about this" relationship is exemplified by a satisfyingly fresh image: "I'm singing to you over my shoulder."
Tegan and Sara have been hyped to the corners of the earth, but Sainthood proves the critics right. This is truly an album, a cohesive series of catchy, well-crafted songs with no lag, no drag and no distractions. Every single song is good. This may sound like lazy criticism, but it's simple fact. Sainthood is great pop, and promises to age well.