It's difficult enough to master the pop music idiom, let alone to do so in a second language. Frenchman Xavier Boyer has managed the impressive feat, singing in English through three strong albums with Parisian indie popsters Tahiti 80, and he continues apace with Tutu to Tango. As Axe Riverboy — an anagram of his first and last names — Boyer composed, arranged, produced, and performed nearly all the instruments on his debut solo effort. For the most part, Tahiti 80's electronic touches have been dropped in favor of a more organic, singer-songwriter approach. Boyer's dulcet tunes are memorably melodic and tinged with just enough lyrical melancholy to achieve that delicate balance of bitter and sweet found in the timeless pop creations of every generation (think Smokey Robinson, The Go-Betweens and Pernice Brothers). Boyer also knows that when it comes to pop confections, a little goes a long way. The 10 songs on Tutu to Tango clock in at an economical 29:26, and that's just long enough to satisfy yet leave listeners wanting a bit more.
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