Various Artists : Decade : Ten Years Of Fierce Panda
British A&R men’s favourite label rounds up the hits
As a chronicler of the scene, FP was peerless. It was they who put Supergrass, Ash, Bluetones, Embrace right under the tastefully powdered noses of the UK's A&R departments. It was they who were canny enough to chart with a spoken-word Oasis record. It was, to be fair, they who wasted perfectly good vinyl on losers like Bellatrix, Llama Farmers and Copperpot Journals too, but, hey, you can't win 'em all.
From the Britpop years, Ash's cover of Helen Love's 'Punkboy' is reedy and enthusiastic but should really be stamped Fans Only, Supergrass' 'Caught By The Fuzz' still seethes with a righteous teenage ire, but The Bluetones sound even more lame now than they did ten years ago. Placebo never bettered 'Bruise Pristine', while Embrace had an impressive string-section but were saddled with rubbish tunes and a barking seal on vocals. As for Kenickie, Idlewild, Lo-Fidelity Allstars and Seafood - really, who cares?
More recently, FP have been unearthed Hundred Reasons, Easy World, Keane and The Music, but they've done their best to apologise with brilliant debut releases from Coldplay, Six By Seven and Polyphonic Spree, so don't hate on 'em too much. What's more, just last year, they put out an excellent record by Death Cab For Cutie. They're from Seattle: the former home-of-grunge Seattle. Which means Fierce Panda have won. Again. Happy Birthday.
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