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Wallpaper for the Soul

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Album Review

"In my heart there is plenty of room," sings Xavier Boyer in "Wallpaper for the Soul," "for everyone to kill the gloom." This could be a mission statement for the band's breezy, clean, melodic pop/rock stylings. Despite the album's title, Boyer's fey, breathy vocals don't have enough passion or grit to qualify as truly soulful; the band's sound, which is often sweetened by strings, is lightweight and refined instead of earthy, sensual, or intense. The music is still appealing, however, even though it sometimes threatens to recede into the background just like wallpaper. More fully realized and bolstered with a stronger song selection than its predecessor, Wallpaper for the Soul is a well-crafted collection of infectious tunes that won't necessarily stick with you for years to come, but should be quite enjoyable while you're listening. As an additional point of interest, it should be noted that arranger Richard Hawson (the Beatles, Nick Drake, the first James Taylor album) worked with the band on five of this album's songs.


Formed: 1993 in Rouen, France

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer Xavier Boyer and bassist Pedro Resende formed the Parisian pop combo Tahiti 80 in 1993 as students at the University of Rouen, bonding on the strength of their shared affinity for the music of the British Invasion era. A handful of demos followed before the duo recruited guitarist Mederic Gontier in 1994, and with the addition of drummer Sylvain Marchand a year later, the lineup was complete. Adopting their name from a souvenir T-shirt given to Boyer's father during a 1980 vacation to the...
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Wallpaper for the Soul, Tahiti 80
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