The temperatures across the States are getting higher. Flowers are approaching or at their finest state. The cicadas are dying out both by human consumption and just their natural cycle only to return 17 years in the future. The sun rays gently kiss exposed skin with UV radiation. It's the perfect time of year to put away the disheartening CDs and move on to albums that are happier, or at the very least happy-sounding. Just by reading Tahiti 80's latest album title, A Piece of Sunshine, gives off a warm fuzzy feeling.
The closest comparison to Tahiti 80 is Papa Fritas whose song "Way You Walk" was featured in a Dentyne Ice commercial and who also happens to be a label mate. Throw in some Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Thrills, and Belle and Sebastian pop influences and pretty much that's around how Tahiti 80 sounds. The French band writes poppy songs ranging about love and relationships to memories, while Xavier Boyer's breathy and breezy vocals float over dreamy notes. There's nothing intense on the album. All the songs have that "je ne sais quoi" quality to them; the songs seem to end too soon just like the album that is only about 25 minutes long.
The staccato riff in the beginning of "Don't Misunderstand" and the gradual addition of instruments prepares the listener for an infectious chorus complete with a washing of synths. A smooth and simple melody and slightly confusing lyrics loses the listener, but brings him back with the clear and dazzling chorus of "don't misunderstand me please baby/so many things are often said in vain." "Silently Walking" features a trumpet in the beginning and certain sections of the song. That's a slight gimmick, because the highlight of the song is a short but pleasant guitar solo after the songs slows down a bit. The groovy bass line and the carefree mellotron make it hard to actually pay attention to what Boyer is singing about in "Listen." The relatively aggressive instrumental "Antonelli" does not fit in with the album with strange synths, but rather onto some battle scene in a role playing game.
"Aftermath" is a downbeat song with moody string instruments and gloomy lyrics about a complicated relationship. "Strange Things" has a nice tempo and melody for the reflective lyrical content. "Better Days Will Come" sounds like an optimistic title, but Boyer insists that "there must be something wrong." The lighthearted melody supports the proposed optimism rather than the repetition of that negative lyric. The album ends with an acoustic number, differing from the other songs that were lush with different instrumental arrangements. "In My Arms" is a delicate song with weighty lyrics makes a sad farewell to a seemingly cheerful band.
This is an album where you can enjoy the music without thinking about it too much, and just when you become conscious that you're listening to it, the album is already over. The bonus DVD that includes a promotional video about the band and music videos is probably supposed to compensate for the short length of the album and it does somewhat, but I would like to hear more new music rather than see some music videos of their older songs.
7.6 / 10
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