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Album Review

Julian Chaptal says he draws on classic French house of the 1990s for his sound, and that's a fair enough assessment — but like many artists, his love for a particular sound means that he's not so much taking it further as finding a way to refine it some more. As a result, Tokens, his first full album, is a classic example of something that's a great listen but is also a bit in one ear and out the other, a temporary pleasure rather than one that sticks fully in the memory. As with many such albums, though, there are moments of excellent flash, in particular two vocal collaborations, "Cocotte Minute" with Carlos "Screaming" Valdes and "Rounda" with Daniel "Mumbling" Sanchez. The nicknames, while a bit on the cute side, do accurately convey what each brings to the songs, both of which are sweeter uptempo numbers that have a bit of extra kick due to the respective performances. Beyond that, Tokens is a slick, eminently listenable experience that at its best is designed to be perfect background music for a night out in the city somewhere, glamorous and a bit dark. Songs like "Interlude" convey that feeling to a T, while variety crops up here and there with the noise distortion — of a clean variety! — on "Balkafono" and the rolling breaks on "La Ribouldingue."

Tokens, Julien Chaptal
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