Within the indie rock fraternity, few guitarists can claim to have as much influence as Malcolm Ross. Via stints with Josef K and Orange Juice, Ross helped to shape the careers of Franz Ferdinand as well as any number of doomed romanticists. Then, after several years out of the limelight, he carved out a relatively brief solo career but whilst former Orange Juice vocalist Edwyn Collins scaled the top of the charts, Ross fared less well; consigned to plying his trade on relatively obscure record labels such as Marina and Re-Action and it is the latter who have released this particular compilation.
Not before time too. Although never the strongest vocalist in the world, 'Heaven's Doors', 'Heartbroken All Over Again' and 'Happy Boy' are blessed with an appealing doleful melancholy. 'Lowshot', meanwhile, is unusually menacing and savage and a noticeably close cousin to Mr. Collins' own 'A Girl Like You'. In a return to Ross' roots, 'Round And Round' captivates with a Josef K-like riff whilst the lively 'Big Guitar' demonstrates an understanding of artful pop merchants The Experimental Pop Band. Sadly the less energised 'Tried So Hard' fares less well largely due to some solid but unremarkable country rock. Yet that's a small complaint for this is a fine overview that does justice to the work of a man with wit, charm and of course some wonderful guitar work.