Album Review: Future Disco Vol. 5: Downtown Express - Various

Last year's Future Disco 4 turned out to be one of the better mix albums I heard last year. Despite coming fairly late in an ongoing series it had a really strong sense of identity and multiple classic tunes. Future Disco Vol. 5 follows the mantra of if it ain't broke, don't fix it... What you have is another collection of contemporary house tracks from the current batch of hot new things, this time packages up under the subtitle Downtown Express.

So we have another winner then, right? Sort of. The problem here is two-fold:

Firstly this doesn't have any disco. Where as volume 4 had Kaine's 'Love Saves The Day' and 'Zombie Tropicana' - classic soul vocals and experimental eclecticism that encapsulated some of the original spirit of disco this latest release really just feels like a collection of recent house releases. Because of that fact there just isn't any noticeable identity.

Secondly and more importantly the quality just ain't as high. There are a few good standout tracks but nowhere near the same caliber as on the previous release.

So if it isn't exactly a killer release or a highwater-mark for the series then what is it? Mostly just a collection of decent tunes - good but unlikely to blow you away. Miguel Campbell's 'Something Special' is a case in point - it's a nice minimal but bouncy house track but nowhere near as good as his MAM collaboration I recently reviewed, which would have been a much more 'disco' choice.

There are still a few good moments, they just aren't quite as consistently essential as volume 4's best tracks were. Tensnake once again deliver the business on Tiger & Woods filtered mix of 'Need Your Lovin' and the Pitto instrumental version of T J Kong & Nuno Dos Santos' 'Something Happened' is a great tense piece of tech-house funk. Benoit & Sergio's 'Principles' is still excellent, as Benoit & Sergio frankly always are and Maceo Plex's mix of DJ T.'s 'City Life' shows once again that no-one makes techno influenced sunshine house as well as Maceo Plex.

The album only really starts to deliver as it closes though. Joakim's 'Find A Way' is given a beautiful remix by Soul Clap - aptly entitled the Soul Clap Floating remix the result is a deliriously contemplative loved-up sensation that captures the introspective coming-of-age feeling the Joakim album from which it is lifted attempted to capture in the first place. It just might be Soul Clap's finest remix to date. Similarly the Prince Language mix of Penguin Prison's rather formulaic pop house track 'Multi Millionaire' transforms the original into a suitably climatic old Chicago house tribute.

It's a shame things don't start quite as well as they finish.

Future Disco Vol. 5 is out on February 27 on Need Want, available for pre-order from on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].