Back in the 1960s, there were several methods of getting over the bar for the high jump, in track and field. There was the Eastern Cut Off, the Scissors, the Western Roll, and of course the always dangerous Straddle. Around this time a 16-year old Portland, Oregon athlete named Dick Fosbury, found all these too complicated, and started working on his own method, which involved leaping backwards over the bar. Fosbury honed this new method and reached new heights, winning gold in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The "Fosbury Flop" revolutionized the high jump, and all the other methods slowly fell by the wayside.
Flash forward several decades and the French band Tahiti 80 attempts to reach new heights with their new album Fosbury (released last year in Europe.) For this, their 4th album, Tahiti 80 called on Outkast and Neptunes production/mixing vets to shake things up, to maybe take their forward dance pop and bring it over the bar backwards. Their 2002 release, Wallpaper for the Soul, was an enjoyable album, but really was wallpaper, something to put on in the background. Fosbury jumps quite a bit more, asking to be noticed. "Chinatown" for instance, has more bite then any prior song of theirs and even a track like "Changes," which is the kind of funky pop these Frenchmen seem to be able to write in their sleep, benefits from a little more oomph in the production. Another bright spot is the retro R&B feel of "Your Love Shines" which features obscure British soul singer Linda Lewis, whose sharper vocals contrast those of Tahiti 80's honey-dipped Xavier Boyer.
All it took was a little nuanced change in their approach, and now they've raised the bar for their next release. [Did I just take the high jump references too far?]
Album: Tahiti 80 - Fosbury
Audio stream: "Chinatown" (WMA) (AOL)
Videos: "Big Day" - "Changes" - "Chinatown" (Quicktime) (AOL)
[Do I think the album's named after Dick Fosbury? No, not really... and yes, the connection is tethered by the thinnest of dental floss, but I'm tightrope walking on it for your entertainment!]
tags: playlist, music, album review, tahiti 80, indie rock, fosbury flop, track and field, high jump, rhapsody