Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tahiti 80--Fosbury (2005)
Release Date-Jun 27, 2005
Biography-Singer Xavier Boyer and bassist Pedro Resende formed Parisian pop combo Tahiti 80 in 1993 as students at the University of Rouen, bonding on the strength of their shared affinity for the music of the British Invasion era. A handful of demos followed before the duo recruited guitarist Mederic Gontier in 1994, and with the addition of drummer Sylvain Marchand a year later, the lineup was complete. Adopting their name from a souvenir t-shirt given go Boyer's father during a 1980 vacation to the Polynesian islands, Tahiti 80 issued their debut EP 20 Minutes in 1996. The I.S.A.A.C. EP followed, and in mid-2000 Minty Fresh issued the band's first full-length effort, Puzzle. The Heartbeat Remixes was issued that fall with Extra Pieces following in early 2001. The abstract and artistical sound of Wallpaper for the Soul appeared in 2002.
Review-Tahiti 80 has always been better in theory than practice. Their ultra-slick approach, which uses elements of classic '60s pop, disco, '70s AM radio, and French pop and gives it a modern electronic sheen, has always sounded wonderful, but the songs weren't always there. Indeed previous albums have been hit or miss, the hits being very good slices of modern pop, the misses failing to make much of an impression. Fosbury is where they finally put their sound together with a batch of memorable songs. Beginning with the energetic and catchy "Big Day," nearly every song has either an infectious singalong chorus or some kind of hook to keep the listener involved and excited. Yes, excited. Along with the improved songcraft, the group seems to have boosted the energy level a few notches on quite a few tracks; "Chinatown," for example, jumps out of the speakers and rocks like nothing they've done before, and Xavier Boyer's vocals, while mostly as sweet as a Sugar Smack, also have some real bite on the rockier tracks. The smoother and more laid-back tracks are great too. The band is slinky and intimate on groovers like "Something About You Girl" and "Somebody New," sounding like they spent quite a bit of time absorbing the lessons of Smokey Robinson circa A Quiet Storm. That's an influence you might not expect too many indie pop bands to have, but it works a treat here. Another song that successfully delves into the sound of retro R&B is the bubbling and truly wonderful "Your Love Shines," which features the vocals of obscure '70s singer Linda Lewis. This injection of soul is a very welcome addition to the group's sound. The secret to Tahiti 80's success on Fosbury is the diversity of sounds and styles the band approximates and the dedication they give to making each song a memorable experience; the record sounds like nothing less than a greatest-hits album by the perfect mid-2000s pop band.