Tahiti 80 - Wallpaper For The Soul

"Wallpaper For The Soul" is only the 2nd album from Parisian underground pop sensations Tahiti 80 and they already seem like seasoned pro's.

Take the pop nous of St Etienne, the vocals of Sice from the Boo Radleys and you have the essence of what makes Tahiti 80 so special, but that's only scraping the surface and doesn't give justice to a band who deserve more than a simple set of reference points for white indie boys from the early 90s onwards. Xaviers love of James Taylor saw them working with the string arranger Richard Hewson (who also worked on the Beatles "Let It Be") and it's this combination of lush strings from the Urban Soul Orchestra and the natural Parisian romanticism that combines to show the different flavours of the band.

Xavier has described the album as an exploration of a day full of emotion with each song taking you from the hazy pictures of dream and throughout the day until you rest your head. It's much more complex album than is initially suggested and while tracks such as "1,000 Times" and "Soul Deep" are unashamedly upbeat and gloriously confident affairs the rest of the album is a walk through the mind of a schizophrenic. "Happy End" takes its reference points from the Doves' "Here It Comes" with it's stop start piano motif before ending with Beach Boys style harmonies which lift it out of the melancholy. "Open Book" is halfway between a nursery rhyme and a tragic love story with the words "You may burn your wings and crash to the ground. It makes you wish you were lost and never found" sung as if Xavier is going to breakdown at any moment. "The Train" is equal parts the tale of a man seeing his woman leave town on a train and yet it's filled with the optimism of the feeling that everything's going to be all right in the end.

Tahiti 80 are a band who command your attention from the outset with glorious tunes and once hooked they wrestle with your emotions within the space of one song. An essential purchase for those who like pop with soul.

Alex McCann

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