About Tahiti 80
French outfit Tahiti 80 emerged at the beginning of the millennium as global indie darlings, combining sleek '60s-influenced pop with disco and new wave elements on albums like 2002's Wallpaper for the Soul and 2005's Fosbury. Expanding from a four-piece to a sextet, they continued to hone their approach with albums like 2008's more stripped-down Activity Center and 2014's introspective Ballroom, launching their own Human Sounds imprint in the process. They later revisited their bright '60s pop roots on 2018's The Sunsh!ne Beat, Vol. 1.
Formed in 1992 in Rouen, France, the band coalesced around singer/guitarist Xavier Boyer and bassist Pedro Resende who bonded over a shared love of '60s pop, new wave, and indie rock while attending the University of Rouen together. Within a year, they'd added guitarist Médéric Gontier and drummer Sylvain Marchand to complete Tahiti 80's lineup. A self-released 1996 EP, 20 Minutes, helped the quartet land a deal with respected French label Atmosphériques. Recording in New York with producer Andy Chase (Ivy, Fountains of Wayne), the band emerged with 1999's Puzzle, their debut full-length. In addition to earning widespread critical acclaim for its stylish take on indie pop, Puzzle was certified gold in Japan, bringing Tahiti 80 to a global audience. Their 2002 follow-up, Wallpaper for the Soul, fared similarly well, and thanks to their partnership with American label Minty Fresh, helped cement them as indie darlings in the U.S. With 2005's Fosbury, the group began to diversify their approach, recording at their own Tahitilab studios with the help of engineers Neal Pogue and Serban Ghenea (Outkast, N.E.R.D.) and collaborating on several cuts with British soul singer Linda Lewis. The following year, Boyer took a solo detour, releasing his own album, Tutu to Tango, under the name Axe Riverboy. The album's more organic indie rock sound heralded a tonal change for Tahiti 80 as well, whose 2008 release, Activity Center, featured more stripped-down arrangements with less emphasis on electronics and synths. Due to recurring ear damage, drummer Marchand was temporarily replaced on this album by Julien Barbagallo who, along with Tahiti 80's touring multi-instrumentalist Raphael Leger, went on to become full-time bandmembers.
At the start of the next decade Tahiti 80 were operating as a six-piece group with the return of Marchand and this lineup was responsible for 2011's The Past, The Present, & The Possible, which they released on their own Human Sounds imprint. The following year Barbagallo left to join Tame Impala and multi-instrumentalist Hadrien Grange joined the group. Throughout their career, Tahiti 80 frequently released indie EPs in between bigger album releases and they continued this trend with 2013's Bang, which was followed a year later by their sixth full-length, Ballroom. Ballroom again saw them collaborating with an American producer, this time in the form of Richard Swift (the Shins, Damien Jurado). They worked again with Swift on 2016's mini-album, ...And the Rest Is Just Crocodile Tears. 2017 saw the release of Boyer's second solo outing, Some/Any/New, which he released this time under his own name. Reuniting with Andy Chase, the producer who helmed their first two albums, Tahiti 80 recorded their seventh full-length, The Sunsh!ne Beat, Vol. 1, which appeared in 2018. The following year, the band celebrated their catalog with Fear of an Acoustic Planet, a collection of unplugged reworkings of their best-known material. ~ Timothy Monger