4AD Records started in 1980 as the personal A&R fiefdom of one man, founder Ivo Watts-Russell, and went on to become one of the emblematic indie labels of the Eighties and Nineties. That quarter-century of idiosyncratic musical endeavour is celebrated in curious manner with this budget compilation, which perversely avoids the label's most familiar tracks in favour of obscurities and album tracks. So no "Pump up the Volume", "Pearly Dewdrops Drops", "Release the Bats", "Song to the Siren", "Cannonball" or "Monkey Gone to Heaven", but plenty of forgettable filler from Sybarite, Tarnation and The Wolfgang Press. Although the jewels in the label's crown - Pixies, Cocteau Twins and Birthday Party - are included, they're represented by second-string material like "Where Is My Mind?", "Lorelei" and "Fears of Gun" respectively. The selection is also heavily weighted in favour of drab Nineties American alt.rock, at the expense of the earlier British indie, goth and industrial releases from such as Bauhaus and Modern English. A far more promising celebration will be the label's proposed "bespoke" compilation service, enabling fans to compile their own album from the back catalogue online.
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