In the days before ABS

I suppose we should have expected a Skids best of in light of the recent Green Day and U2 cover and right on cue Virgin duly oblige with this 21 track retrospective. The Skids are often unjustly overlooked as they were never as punk or as high profile as some of their contemporaries. With the suicide of guitarist and Big Country founder Stuart Adamson back in 2001 a reunion doesn't seem likely so this collection serves as a timely reminder of just how good The Skids were.

Even if you know nothing about The Skids I guarantee you'll know at least one song, their biggest hit 'Into The Valley' has seldom been far from the airways or as a backing on a television advert. It still sounds fresh today and it's virtually impossible not to sing a long to it. Some of the material on offer here doesn't reach the same heights ('Peaceful Times' for one) but for every one of those there's another gem that illustrates the maturity and depth of the band. The stand out tracks tend to be the better remembered singles such as 'Working for the Yankee Dollar' and 'Circus Games' but there is strength in depth throughout.

The deeper you get into this collection the more you come to realise that subconsciously or not, The Skids have been a major influence on much that came after. There are moments when they sound uncannily like The Kaiser Chiefs and the sound is so similar it's surely more than coincidence?

Adamson's guitar is distinctive and there are hints of what was to become his trademark guitar sound, particularly on tracks like 'Goodbye Civilian' and 'Out of Town'. Jobson's vocals fall somewhere between Joe Strummer and Spizz but are again distinctive and a major part of the band's sound. This is a remarkably consistent compilation, the overall sound doesn't change that much throughout, which may invite criticism on the grounds of stagnation and there's some mileage in that view. Overall though it's a solid collection that picks the highlights from their five year career and should open their back catalogue to a new generation of fans.