Somehow greater fame has eluded Tahiti 80 so far despite the effervesence of 2006’s ‘Fosbury’. Where French indie pop is concerned, their thunder has arguably been stolen by Phoenix but now they have returned from a brief lay-off to demonstrate that their music is as fresh as ever.
Tahiti 80 are sensitive souls at heart and frontman Xavier Boyer is capable of relaying soul and tenderness with his sweetly-toned vocals. To balance this his bandmates are a tight unit, who lay down rock-solid rhythms.
Opener ‘Defender’ rides along a Krautrock riff but the double header of’Gate 33′ and ‘Solitary Bizness’ is the first time on the album where the group take flight. Based on throbbing rhythms, shiny synths and Boyer’s lighter than air vocals, the songs segue between compelling grooves and addictive modern choruses. ‘Want Some’ boasts some unashamedly poppy harmonies whilst ‘Easy’ jangles like The Radio Dept.
Intriguingly, Tahiti 80 prove they have excellent and somewhat unexpected tastes too. The album title is a reference to Peter Saville’s ground-breaking artwork for Factory Records and how many bands would cover an A.R. Kane track? In this case, it’s the original dreampoppers’ ‘Crack Up’ and Tahiti 80’s version fizzles with typical energy. Flaws are hard to locate but the ambitious title track tries a little too hard to be a song suite. However, such excesses are forgiven as ‘Nightmares’ takes over and – contrary to its title – it boasts the dreamiest of melodies and glorious harmonies.
It’s hard to believe the group have been making music together for nearly 20 years. For the ideas, energy, emotions and tunes are all dovetailed here in to one glorious whole, making the uninitiated wonder: who are this exciting new band?.