15 Again has been available in Europe for more than a year, but with French duos creeping out of every corner lately (and two in particular, Justice and Daft Punk, having an enormous impact on the musical landscape of 2007), now is as good a time as ever for veteran “French Touch” electronic two-piece Cassius to unleash it on U.S. audiences. Cassius (Hubert Blanc-Francart, better known as Boombass, and Philippe Zdar) has been toiling around the French electronic scene for more than a decade, dating back to early-’90s productions in French hip-hop as La Funk Mob. 15 Again follows Cassius’s career trajectory (to the current incarnation as funk-influenced dance-floor Casanovas) and slinks further into jubilant electro-pop terrain and hypnotic acid-house burners.
As far as electro-pop goes, Cassius’s status as veteran producers and masters of song craft is impressively evident. “Toop Toop” chugs along with chiming guitars, funk bass, hyperactive percussion and brought home with the half sing-song, half megaphone-shouted vocals. “Rock Number One” and the title track utilizes Gladys Gambie as a guest vocalist, and her feminine touch complements the playboy swagger of Zdar and Boombass. Most impressively, the reggae/jazz colored “See Me Now” features manic musings from Zdar over neatly controlled beats and rhythms in a near perfect combination of debauched hysteria and pristine restraint. Cassius also knows how to open things up, and the acid-house banger “Jackrock” features a monotone spoken-word over melodic humming and the acid essentials: squelching synth and spellbinding percussion, hitting everything from booming kicks to machine-gun snares to trashcan steel drums.
15 Again hits more than it misses, and its hits push all the right buttons, musically and emotionally. Cassius has that certain charisma that drips all over the records of contemporaries Air and Daft Punk. Especially similar to Air, the lyrics and tales are so straightforwardly romantic that their sincerity cannot be questioned. 15 Again seems to be an ideal summation of Cassius’s artistic aesthetic some fifteen years into their career (hence, the title). Let 15 Again be the accretion of experience and the rediscovery of the joys of youth both at once and as a result of each other.