Tegan and Sara Under Feet Like Ours

There's a telling thank you in the liner notes of Tegan and Sara's debut. It's to "The Scrappy Bitches" for having "us baby bitches" play on tour. The Canadian triumvirate of Kinnie Starr, Oh Susanna and Veda Hille seems a particularly appropriate set of role models for this 18-year-old pair of Calgary-based singer/songwriter twins. Tegan and Sara don't sound like any particular one of the Bitches, yet for their remarkably assured debut, the twins demonstrate a kinship with the confidence, self-expression and no bullshit approach of their spiritual progenitors. But there's more here than simple feminist support for making the scary step to the stage - Tegan and Sara are the real deal, not another Ani Difranco pretender trying to be political by writing songs about freedom. The evidence in hand, their debut album, shows an emotional and musical progression quite remarkable for their age, as if they've managed in one go to shake out the cobwebs of their folk/rock roots, and their Lilith Fair/Indigo Girls tendencies, and are emerging fully formed, ready to take the next step. Having signed with Neil Young's label, and currently recording with Toronto producer Hawksley Workman, that step may come before the year is out. (Independent)