Tahiti 80 - Ballroom (NAKED Album Review)

Tahiti 80 - Ballroom (NAKED Album Review)

If there's one word that best describes the music of Tahiti 80 it's this one:


Heavenly melodies, cool pop smarts and an army of razor-sharp hooks are the key components to the Tahiti 80 sound. It's been apparent their whole career, beginning with 1998's eclectic major-label 'Puzzle' and it's still there on 2022's triumphant 'Here With You'.

Inbetween those times Tahiti 80 have quietly gone about their business by delivering brilliant indie pop albums. Songs that sound equally as good out in the nightclub or at home in your bedroom, 2014's 'Ballroom' was a tour-de-force of classic tunes. Produced by the in-demand producer Richard Swift the record has gone on to garner cult status over the intervening years.

Tahiti 80 had originally signed to hip Paris label 'Atmospheriques' but by album number five (namely, the also fab 'The Past The Present & The Possible') the band had created their own record company 'Human Sounds'.  Album six ('Ballroom') is the sound of a band luxuriating in its new found freedom.

Tahiti 80 - Ballroom

Kicking off with the ebullient 'Crush!' we find ourselves busting out some smooth moves on the Club Tropicana dancefloor. 'Crush!' is a classy pop anthem with a chorus to die for.  Moving into the album, 'Coldest Summer' is four sublime minutes of that familiar Tahiti 80 sunshine sound topped off by Xavier's exquisite vocal delivery . It's one of the key tracks here and blends a sumptuous melancholy (something the band do very well) to deft and sprightly rhythms. Dancing with tears in their eyes? Maybe. 'T.D.K.' follows and is another reflective melody welded to pop brightness. It's my personal fave track on the record even though 'T.D.K.' isn't actually about a brand of recordable-cassette tapes. According to first-hand information given to me by Xavier in a Montpellier record shop earlier this year, the song incorporates the initials of Kirsty MacColl's ace track 'They Don't Know. 'T.D.K.' has all the charm of Norweigan moodists A-ha constructing break-up mix tapes in their Nordic den.  Now that's quite a compliment!

I hope.

In a change to the original running order, side one of the NAKED version of 'Ballroom' closes with the twin dreamstates of  'God of the Horizon' and 'Back 4 More'. Following conversations with the band we were graciously offered an exclusive track never previously available on vinyl (more of that below) with the proviso we could also slightly shift the songs around to ensure an even better album. I think we've achieved that!

Side two begins with the understated 'Missing' which transports us back to the heyday of prime-time 80's radio. Synths glide and melodies float above us before we're delivered headfirst into a world-beating chorus which finds the band pondering existence and the search for that perfect chord. Neat lyric, cool tune and a great way to start the second side. 'Roberr' deliver us further into the hallucinogenic mindset of 'Ballroom' before 'Seven Seas' arrives pining for a simpler way of life. It's simple and very effective and yet another album highlight.  'Solid Gold' originally closed the record and finds the band channeling the spirit of Brian Wilson circa 1966 via a glorious hymn incorporating more of those Xavier Boyer harmonies. Quirky and all-too-brief, it's another sign of a band stretching out and enjoying its creativity. 

And then things get even more interesting! On the original version of the album there was a brief bout of silence before an undisclosed track fizzled into life around the 3.20 mark. That hidden track (the languid mellotron pop of 'Bass Inferno') has now been properly instated to the record just before we get to that exclusive additional track we promised you at the start of this review.

Around the time that 'Ballroom' came out back in 2014, Tahiti 80 had recorded a track especially for a World Cup 2014 compilation album. The song they chose had been written and recorded by Brazilian artist Marcus Valle. 'Garra' is an undisputed tropicalia classic guaranteed to get everyone grooving. But up until 2023, this song had become something of a rarity in the bands back-catalogue but we're happy to say 'Garra' has finally found a home here on 'Ballroom'.

We think you'll agree it's a great way to close such a fantastic album! 

Tahiti 80

NAKED Record Club are proud to re-issue this brilliant and much sought after indie pop album by one of France's premier bands. Be sure to secure your copy NOW!

Merci de votre lecture !

Check out our Spotify Playlist for a compilation of highlights from the band's impressive career.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.