With Hey, I’m Just Like You, Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin have cultivated a fresh start. After morphing from indie-punk outcasts into purveyors of sugar-rush pop beloved of Taylor Swift on 2013’s excellent Heartthrob, they hit a wall on its follow-up, Love You to Death. A commercial flop, it felt like a box-ticking exercise, with the band’s spirit lost under the sheen.
On their ninth album – a companion piece to their memoir, High School – they look back to move forward, with 12 songs reworked from demos they originally wrote when they were teenagers. The result is a clear-headed amalgamation of their two eras, veering from stomping emo (opener Hold My Breath Until I Die; I’ll Be Back Someday’s Avril-isms) to sleek, synth-led pop (the pogoing You Go Away and I Don’t Mind).
As they’ve highlighted, these are songs they couldn’t write now, and there’s a gloriously naive emotional familiarity throughout, from Please Help Me’s worried gaze into the future (“what if I don’t feel like I belong?”), to I’ll Be Back Someday’s coiled spring of teenage frustration. It’s a fascinating conceit; a remodelled past for a clearer future.