“You guys starting to have a little bit of a dance party?” Sara Quin, one-half of folk, pop and now dance duo Tegan and Sara, asked Wednesday at the Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
It was a rhetorical question, for the most part, posed late in the group’s 90-minute set after bodies had been in motion for the previous hour, hips swished in the service of heartache.
Up until their most recent record, “Heartthrob,” Tegan and Sara were best known for confessional songs about relationships as tangled as matted hair, many of them based on acoustic guitar.
But with their new album, Tegan and Sara have something else in mind: bigger stages, heightened radio play, more arms in the air.
To this end, “Heartthrob” buoys the sisters’ unflagging yearning with massive, delirious synth lines and propulsive beats that serve as afterburners on their unflinchingly candid songs.
Their set at the Cosmo opened with a succession of new tunes, four in all, beginning with the understated purr of “I’m Not Your Hero” and culminating with the near-disco of “Goodbye Goodbye,” with Tegan pumping her fist in time with the motoric beat.
Then the breaks were pumped for “Back in Your Head,” a plaintive plea for a lover’s attention with a plinking piano line as simple and unadorned as the emotions being given voice to.
“I really like to cry,” Tegan whelped on the song that followed, “The Con,” the title from their fourth album released in 2007, a sentiment that hasn’t been abandoned in Tegan and Sara’s more current works, but certainly isn’t the predominant feeling on “Heartthrob.”
“Is there anybody here in love?” Tegan asked a bit later between songs. “Is there anybody here super sad? I don’t want to leave anybody out.”
Of course not.
That’s part of Tegan and Sara’s charm: taking highly personal moments and making them feel universal, relatable.
Now they’re something else: fun.
And so when Tegan and Sara closed their set with dauntless come-on “Closer,” before returning for a two-song encore, it was a moment of hard earned exultation, as tears turned to sweat.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.