Cassius Au Reve

The French house tidal wave has long since crested and subsided, but new releases keep trickling out, filled with a Gallic love of fine cheese and party-at-the-barricades joie de vivre. Originally recording for Mo' Wax (as Le Funk Mob) and producing MC Solaar, the duo of Phillippe Zdar and Hubert Boombass have been known as Cassius since 1999, which came at the height of Franco-popularity. This year's Au Reve is a solid, but not spectacular, follow-up that offers filtered breakdowns ("Hi Water"), funk fiestas ("The Sound of Violence," easily the album's best song), slow-burn sex soundtracks ("Au Reve") and even "hip-house" ("Thrilla," featuring Ghostface Killa). It's somewhat more song-oriented than their last outing, using vocalists to add personality to a genre largely devoid of that very thing. But they can't avoid slipping into humdrum disco-house and bland electronica, clocking in at about half-filler. Next time, Cassius should wait until they have a full album's worth of songs. (Virgin)