It takes a brave, or perhaps just deranged, record label to celebrate their 20th year, with an album of miserable songs.
It’s certainly an unusual way for Fierce Panda to declare their survival for two decades in a cut-throat industry, and one in which labels, large and small are currently swimming against the online tide.
Fierce Panda have had a proud roster over the years, and a meritable history of giving acts their first start (Coldplay, for example), and endangered: fierce panda 2004-2014 allows me the opportunity to hear the current crop of young British bands. Naturally, in any compilation there are certain acts you would rather not have heard, and Acres of Lions sound like a mid-Atlantic outfit on their morose contribution.
Ultrasound, perhaps, typify the Fierce Panda spirit most tellingly, a larger than life indie band who took a long break out before their second album which included Sovereign and is included here too. “Tramline tears tear tracing paper laces/ Down your face/ Purge your sins, lowly stick-think things.” sings Andrew Wood on one of the more intriguing tracks of the 18.
Among these tales of lost love, rejection, and poverty, is a story of impending death, courtesy of The Raveonettes’ Last Dance, “And everytime you overdose, I rush to intensive care.”
There are songs with a pace that matches the subject matter, and there are those such as Hatcham Social’s Sidewalk, which is more sprightly with its never-ending riffs and brutal fade out. Other artists offering sad songs include The Crookes, Woodpigeon. The Hosts, Art Brut and Dingus Khan.
Endangered is available on its own, but if you go to the label’s website (http://www.fiercepanda.co.uk/link here) and buy any other album you can get this for free.