Tegan And Sara's 2000 debut This Business Of Art was recorded when the Canadian twins were teenagers, and still actively courting the same acoustic-alternative audience that worships Ani DiFranco and Indigo Girls. By the time of 2002's If It Was You, Tegan And Sara had absorbed the off-kilter power-pop of its countrymen in The New Pornographers, as well as Ryan Adams' lessons on how to insert '80s rock muscle into deceptively simple folk songs. The sisters beef up even more on So Jealous, which possesses some of the cooing cool of Missing Persons, reconceived for the post-Breeders era.
"You Wouldn't Like Me" tells the band's musical story, starting with a rhythmically strummed acoustic guitar, then adding a matching electric and a buzzing layer of synthesizer. The drums and bass kick in a minute later, but the song already feels like an oddball arena rocker, right down to the narcissistic sad-sack chorus: "I feel like I wouldn't like me if I met me." Over the next 13 songs, Tegan And Sara treats cutesy girl-pop like modeling clay, converting the briskly booming "Take Me Anywhere," the icy power ballad "Downtown," and the spinning, pumping "Speak Slow" into aggressive demands for attention, affection, and respect.
The brittle harmonies make So Jealous a little tough to warm up to, but combined with the thick-handled melodies and punchy arrangements, Tegan And Sara's look-at-us swagger generates drama. The album's peak arrives with the crashing "I Bet It Stung," where the sisters tell off would-be lovers by letting them they know where their priorities lie, singing "I love the rock 'n' roll" in a halting moan.