Cassius is the French musical duo made up of producers Philippe Cerboneschi and Hubert Blanc-Francard, better known as Zdar and Boombass (or sometimes Philippe Zdar and Hubert Boombass). Their contributions to music began 30 years ago working with French hip-hop star MC Solaar and over their career, they’ve released eight albums under their iconic moniker, several of which recieved critical acclaim from critics, colleagues and fans alike. Tragically, the music community as a whole was, without a doubt, shocked and stunned upon the news of Blanc-Francard’s accidental death, and what makes it all the more heartbreaking for fans, is his passing occured two days before the official release of their new LP titled “Dreems.” As you read through this review, you’ll notice that it does not contain a whole lot of the typical prose delving into techincal, production, styles, so on and so forth. It’s written about how the music will make one feel, simple enough? I think so.
The opening track, “Summer,” serves as an epic introduction with powerful piano chords behind layers of electronic waves and a steady beat that fades into “Nothing About You” featuring the vocals of John Gourley. This track is red hot with a deep groove and a highly infectious chorus that wil set you on fire. If you are not dancing around to this, then there is something wrong with you.
“Verda” and “Fame” follows and keeps the groove going, leading the way to the first official single “Don’t Let Me Be” featuring Owelle. Shining with pop sensibilities, this song has the hooks, voice and sexiness worthy of a breakout cross-genre radio friendly smash. Easily one the highlights among the 12 original songs. “Chuffed” comes in with a slightly different feel, muffled piano melodies, dance beats and one of the filthiest bass lines I’ve heard in a long time.
Up next are the tracks “Rock Non Stop” and “Cause oui!.” Both lean toward the hip-hop side of the spectrum and both rock. Beastie Boys’ Mike D. appears on “Cause oui!” belting out the lyrics and giving one a desire to eat some Skittles and Gum Drops (a main ingredient of the song). The harmonic vocals by Owelle, Luke Jenner and Joe Rogers brings in “Dreams,” which is beautifully accompanied by lush strings, sirens and percussion and represents another cross-over hit with global mass appeal.
Track number ten, “Calliope” and it’s thumping beat steps away from the poppish feels heard up to this point on the album. More eclectic and focused on bouncy house styled beats and rhythms that takes you in to an entirely different direction.
Closing up “Dreems” with “W18” is yet another gem with wonderful soulful vocals by Vula Malinga. The song brings memories of the early nineties soul music. Powerful in it’s message, along with the blending of the music, it’s down right inspirational. Owelle comes back to close out the album on “Walking On Sunshine” Slower in pace, it’s the perfect ending to an album that is otherwise red hot. It allows you to wind down and cool down from the sweat that is generated from the LP’s music.
As an added bonus, “Dreems” has a 50 minute 14 second continuous mix of the songs enclosed in the package that seamlessly goes track to track, giving you a club enviroment listening experience.
Since the official release of “Dreems” this collection of songs has been on constant replay and personnally, its my go to album of the summer. I think this will be the case for millions across the globe as well. The album is overflowing with guaranteed hits and the more you listen, the more you hear the amazing musicianship these two shared in the studio. Easily a true contender for “Album of the Year,” “Dreems” is an instant classic that you will revisit continually, I have and it has only been out for a few weeks. So, jump in and enjoy this, and as fan of Cassius, I extend a heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Philippe and Hubert for putting out the “great feeling” album of the year.