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Music

Tahiti 80: Puzzle

Joel Hanson

Tahiti 80

Puzzle

Label: Minty Fresh
US Release Date: 2000-06-06
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Tahiti 80 is pristine French pop crafted in the spirit of the '60s rock icons -- like the Kinks and the Zombies -- that the band so obviously adores. However, Tahiti 80's undeniable charm emanates from lead singer Xavier Boyer's ability to successfully channel his infectiously innocent intonations -- like a naïve version of Nick Drake -- through the filters of a second language. I can't imagine an American band using, much less getting away with, a lyric like "I return home with special food for my spirit", but such linguistic solecisms have an unusual appeal in light of the somatic ambience of the accompanying music -- which, more accurately, draws from several '70s sonic sources -- and its capacity to transport you blissfully into the past. For example, the song "Heartbeat", with its bouncy, almost house-like rhythms, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band-esque vocal hook, is so intoxicating and familiar, you'd swear that you once heard it pumping out of an eight-track from a passing, matte-black Camaro, or perhaps in an American Bandstand-induced dream. In addition, the trumpet provided by Eric Matthews and mixes by Tore Johansson keep the nostalgia flowing through standout tracks "Yellow Butterfly", the ABBA-influenced "I.S.A.A.C" and the title track "Puzzle."

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