Koo Dé Tah – Koo Dé Tah, 1986

Guest post by Milena Nugget (Optimal Ripeness)

This album gives me the chills. With the expansive synth sound typified by other Australian synth-pop groups like Icehouse, and brutally catchy, Madonna-esque sugary dance beats, this is a record full of earworms.

At the centre is Tina Cross’s exceptional voice, which can range from the cool and gliding (“Over to You,” “Think of Me”) to the effortlessly bouncy (“Body Talk,” “Meant to Be”), and suggests Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper inspiration.

In several ways Koo Dé Tah stood in contrast with their contemporaries. Australian pop music in the 80s was heavily Anglo-Saxon male-dominated—whether by virtue of the pub rock circuit, insular cultural attitudes, or otherwise. Koo Dé Tah was comprised of two accomplished musicians with differing backgrounds (New Zealander Tina Cross with Māori heritage, and former Russian popstar Leon Berger). That they had a radio hit with “Too Young For Promises” and were still unafraid to take risks and experiment makes this record all the more remarkable.

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