Artist: Futureshock
Title: Phantom Theory
Label: Parlophone
By: Simon Jones | 21 March 2003
  1. Statikman
  2. Another Hit
  3. Late At Night
  4. Kato's Revenge
  5. On My Mind
  6. Sparc
  7. Satellite
  8. Fifty One
  9. Pride's Paranoia
  10. Wide Open
  11. Birdcage
  12. Frequency

Futureshock "Phantom Theory"Futureshock "Phantom Theory"

Out Now on Parlophone

The duo of Phil Dockerty and Alex Tepper made a major impact on dance music at the dawn of the new millennium, with their superb decks n fx shows as Futureshock. These were complimented by high profile mixes for artists ranging from Underworld to The Chemical Brothers, with their dancefloor smash 'Sparc' cementing their reputation further. Since then the duo have increasingly stayed out of the spotlight pretty much, doing the occasional show. The reason? They've been locked away creating tracks for their debut album, and now almost three years later, 'Phantom Theory' has arrived...

The album opens in grand fashion with the cinematic sounds of 'Statikman', it's large driving bassline, and futuristic trance sounds wasting no time in creating a platform upon which Futureshock can showcase the evolvement of their sounds over the past three years. This is soon followed up by the deep and mesmerizing acid beats of 'Another Hit' which blends seamlessly into the techy bleep fest that is 'Late At Night'. This track just oozes slickness and it's groove works well to keep you interested. A homage to where it all began for the duo, but at the same time thinking forward.

'Kato's Revenge' is the first surprise of the album as it's downtempo analogue melodies soothe your mind but at the same time warm you up for what is still to come. Are you sitting comfy? It there something on your mind, or is it merely the deep sub bass melody line of 'On My Mind', complimented in almost symmetrical fashion by the vocals of Ben Onono, who lends a touch of class and emotive tranqulity to a track that on it's own could warm the coldest of hearts with it's warm melodies, but with the hypnotic vocal keeping hold of you, this is the point where the album really comes into it's own, as the boys transcend the tricky boundaries between commercialism and the underground with ease. Now they have your attention well and truely, it's only apt that the first Futureshock that started it all, 'Sparc' should rear it's end, devastating just as much as it did upon it's original release some time ago.

How could you top that? It's a tall order, but as the vocals of fellow Birmingham inhabitant Gilly G drop roughly over the throbbing nitro injected bassline of 'Satellite' you know that Alex and Phil have more surprises to come yet, with the futuristic guitars of 'Fifty One'. it's sampled vocals and laid back beats crafting would could easily be a track by a 21st century revision of Pink Floyd proving this straight away on the follow up. The rap that is 'Pride Paranoia', featuring the vocals of Slug from US outfit Atmosphere lowers the pace with it's hip hop beats and deep house groove sitting underneath a vocal that draws influences from Eminem and a bassline that could easily have come out of Detroit. It may sound like a bit of mismatch, but has to be heard to be believed.

'Wide Open' does just as it's namesake says, and that's blows things up once more, it's synth delays and twisted bassline building momentum once more, changing shape into the dark, crisp beats of 'Birdcage'. Heads down dirty breaks mesh with the vocal provided by MC MG with tough percussion tying it all together tightly, with the bottom end dropping out for the grand finale. As the rippling groove and deep melody of 'Frequency' builds presence, it's as almost as if it's telling you the system is due to overheat without warning at any second and you have just a few more minutes left to lose youself, be it on the dancefloor, or within your mind in the comfort of your armchair. It would seem if this is the case, that the spirit of the phantom has well and truely entered your soul, and revealed the secrets of its theory to you.

Whilst several people may have thought that 'Sparc', 'The Question' and 'Frequency' were an indication of Futureshock's production prowess, the truth is that they are far more versatile than that, and this album will silence the naysayers and surprise many. One of the finest artist albums of 2003 thus far.

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