June 28, 2001
Tahiti 80 : Puzzle
Breezy, cool French pop
7 / 10
Cheerfully purveying whooshily warm melodies as though supplying balms for the blighted, Tahiti 80 seem to reside in a realm of bounteous solar radiation and swimming pools overflowing with pink champagne, where Mint Royale's 'Don't Falter' is on heavy rotation and Burt Bacharach threatens to pop in for an impromptu greatest hits set.
Enhanced by Xavier Boyer's airy, whispery vocals (and, yeah, by the fact that he's named Xavier), 'Puzzle' is slap-happy with a gloopy, sweet romanticism. Thankfully, this is more absurd than mawkish, made even better by the fact that Tahiti 80 are
French people singing in English, and therefore do not always
Assisted by members of Fountains of Wayne (Eric Matthews and Adam Schlesinger) in NYC and mixed by a Cardigan (Tore Johansson) in Sweden, putting 'Puzzle' together was
a truly international effort and
it's appropriately broad in scope. Through the trippy West Coast whirl of 'ISAAC' to the Teenage Fanclub swoon of 'Hey Joe' and
an inspired cover of AR Kane's
'A Love From Outer Space',
Tahiti 80 ransack psychedelic lounge pop and '70's vintage
soft rock with the sort of
wizardry known only to the modern technician.
Basically, if sunshine could be sold in a jewel case, Tahiti 80 would own the patent.
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