5 years is not an incredibly long stretch of time. For instance, it was only 2005 when Crazy Frog was atop the charts with the desecration of Axel F, and the mental wounds that ensued from having to endure the barrage of ringtones that preceded it’s demoralising march to number 1 are only just starting to heal. But for an independent label to have lasted that long today is nothing short of a miracle. Young and Lost Club, however, is far from your archetypical no-budget imprint, and is celebrating the half decade of it’s existence with a best of compilation of the finest moments from the 50 singles they’ve put out in that time.
Founded by Nadia Dahlawi and Sara Jade at the tender age of 20, the one thing that shines through during the album’s 35 tracks is the duo’s ability to pick a winner. Starting out as a clubnight, the now well trodden path to starting a label was followed, and some of the most recognisable indie music of the new millennium has followed. Of all the bands on show, Noah & the Whale are probably the biggest name, and contribute the most well known tracks – you’d struggle to find many who don’t recognise the wonderful ‘5 years time’, and a hefty percentage of those would at least be able to sing along with the chorus of the softened, sentimental version of ‘2 bodies, 1 heart’ that opens the second disc.
As the quintet work on the follow up to their heady second album, it’s sad to note that they’re the exception rather than the rule of bands on the label fulfilling their potential. It’s fair to say that the most recent wave of guitar led indie music has had it’s day, and the demise of Vincent Vincent and the Villains, who open the compilation, is indicative of the dream gone sour, whilst the slide of Good Shoes from the next big thing to mid-level makeweights is just as disheartening. Though the style may not exactly be ‘on trend’, even the more dated tracks feel just as relevant as their contemporary counterparts. Larrikin Love may not have been around for long, but the sudden burst of ‘Six Queens’ is still genuinely exciting, and the same could be said of Pull Tiger Tail’s entry, ‘Animator’.
As with any retrospective, there are also bum notes. The abject failure of Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong to be anything other than the band that feature’s the bloke who played Sophie’s little brother in Peep Show is to be little be mourned, but ‘Lucio starts fires’ at least offers a reminder of the two weeks in 2007 when the music media thought they might be the future. There are probably few who miss the likes of Action Plan, Friends of the Bride and Stylofone, but they all still give a good account of themselves here.
Whilst the tracklisting for the first CD reads like an epitaph, the second shows just how on the pulse Young and Lost are. Golden Silvers are still making all the right noises, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool could easily still break the big time with their 80’s revivalism and Planet Earth are the best new folk-pop act in the country. There’s even a track from Everything Everything, before the days of record label battling to sign them and mass critical acclaim. If the majors showed anything close to the determination to give voice to new talent that Nadia and Sara have shown over the past 5 years, the music industry probably wouldn’t be in the mess that it current finds itself in. Thankfully, until it does, we can at least console ourselves with the fact that Young and Lost is still going strong.