Various Parasol's Sweet Sixteen: Volume One

A joint effort from a Parasol and bunch of labels they're in bed with, namely Mud, Hidden Agenda and Spur. Not a tour de force, rather a tour of some lesser seen bands passing the flame of a sprawling, but as always, vibrant pop scene. This compilation is a veritable navigational instrument, helping the listener explore different veins and as seven of the 18 tracks are yet unreleased, there is a vision to the future. The rare international nods bring up a very strong average. Starlet, at the fore of Sweden's wimp pop movement, starts the CD as pretty as can be. Blueberry, very blue from Japan, have some incredibly sweet acoustic guitar duets next to soft tambourines and vocals, making it perhaps the best track overall. Quickspace, from Hidden Agenda, rock a mesmerising lick that releases into a controlled burn 3/4 it's fun like that. Most of the rest is mature, tight, catchy or just pleasant material. Lookout for Busytoby and Doleful Lions for the lighter side or Steve Pride and His Blood Kin, and George Usher Group for a more engaging approach. (Parasol)