Since Ladytron started making music over 10 years ago a lot has happened, both musically and in the wider world. Best of 00 – 10, however, goes a long way towards disguising this fact. The years and albums blend together without any major bumps or hiccups, coalescing into what could almost be a standalone album of new material if you were a fresh listener. Only one or two tracks really give away their age, namely ‘Playgirl’ and ‘Discotraxx’ and not generally because they sound musically outdated, but through their lack of depth lyrically and the somewhat brighter and breezier nature of their densely layered Synths when placed alongside their more recent counterparts. Its still easy though, when casually listening through, to forget that these tracks are pulled from their début, 604, which collected most of their output from 1999 to 2001, a time well before the fizzing and bubbling of analogue Synths had been firmly re-embraced by pop producers and indie hipsters alike.
Even these, the earliest tracks that appear, slide in easily alongside tracks from Light and Magic which came along one year later and really began to set the tone and blueprint for what Ladytron would achieve for the rest of the decade. Its these tracks that serve as the glue that really holds together the body of this best of, keeping the older tracks from seeming too distant whilst providing a lighter edge to the more austere krautrock moments from Velocifero. What is most evident across all the tracks is that from their outset Ladytron have always had a knack for memorable choruses; almost every track in the collection has a killer hook or two, with the newest single ‘Ace of Hz’ being no exception.
Surely though, with a whole decade’s worth of output condensed into 17 tracks, some vital pieces of the musical puzzle are missing and in my opinion Best Of 00-10 is not completely without its oversights. ‘Sugar’ and ‘High Rise’ from the witching hour era particularly spring to mind for me as great tracks which have been left off in favour of other more sedate tracks from this album. Replacing these with tracks like ‘International Dateline’ and ‘Soft Power’ does add a certain balance of reserved understatement to even out the dance floor friendly, beat heavy cuts already present on the record and this helps it retain that aforementioned LP feel.
However, I still cant help but feel that ‘Sugar’ or ‘High Rise’ would have been a better inclusion than another track from Witching Hour that made it on to the disc: ‘Fighting in built up areas’, which showcases the harsher and less melodic side of Ladytrons output, with the focus firmly on Mira Aroyo and her clipped spoken word rather than the sultry tones of Helen Marnie. It is a side of Ladytron that it is important to document, I concede, but it has never been my favourite output of theirs and their back catalogue is littered with other similar album tracks and B sides equalling or surpassing this one. My annoyance at these tracks being left off is slightly abated though by the fact that ‘High Rise’ made it onto the second disc of the deluxe release at least.
With this one minor issue aside, Best of 00 – 10 provides a good addition to anyone’s electro collection, combining a highly enjoyable jumping off point for new fans and giving the casual longer-term fans a glimpse at what is to come from Ladytron at the same time as consolidating many of their best loved tracks onto a single disc. For those wanting a more complete selection though, the deluxe edition is more likely to satisfy. (Obviously, without realising it, I fall into the latter, nerdier camp grumbling about our favourites having been missed from the first disc.)