(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, November 22, 2010

CD review - Tahiti 80, Solitary Bizness (2010)

French band Tahiti 80 comes from the fuzzy borderlands of electro pop. They have all the standard electronic sounds, but their aesthetic emphasizes a retro pop flavor. The 5 tracks on the Solitary Bizness EP shows off some of their pop explorations. Throughout the album, though, the vocals are clean and breezy and the beats are light and steady.

The title cut lays a sing-song indie pop vocal over an electronic bass line. There's some layering, but nothing extreme. Instead, the focus is on the clear vocals and light touch harmonies. The basic electro pop groove takes on some boop/beep synthesizer sounds, especially in the dreamy instrumental end section.

Crack Up is poppy and bouncy. The heavily syncopated beat is driven with percussion sounds, giving this a cheerful feel, albeit full of nervous energy. It's a bit reminiscent of Devo, but much less ironic. This contrasts with A Night in the City, which has a stripped down verse and shimmery disco pop chorus. The verse features a Leonard Cohen style delivery, setting up a loosely structured story. Eventually the verse and chorus come together in an overlapped ending.

Keys to the City is back to Tahiti 80's core sound. It's got a retro feeling pop vocal that dates back to Bob Welch and backing synthesizers. It's simple, light, and poppy. The ending slides into a stronger synth pop groove.

Finally, Cool Down surprises with an acoustic guitar groove. The simple arrangement of the guitar and bass sets a mood, but it starts unraveling, with glitchy elements and other sounds creeping in. Eventually, it falls into an electronic dub groove. This and the title track were my two favorite cuts on the EP.

Solitary Bizness is a nice little diversion. It's a prelude for Tahiti 80's upcoming album, The Past, the Present & the Possible (due out in February 2011). For now, accent some ginger ale with some fresh ginger and listen along.

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