After an excellent start, Mark Doyle's Fierce Angel collections took several mis-steps and suddenly began to look a little vulnerable. With no Beach Angel, Es Vive or Angels Fall releases this year the writing appeared to be on the wall. A quick glance at the tracklisting for this new 3 disc collection did not bode well either (with lots of cover versions and - yes - 'Forgiveness' by the Wamdue Project yet again!)
So it's great to be able to say that this release it crammed full of anthemic, uplifting melodic house. 'Release Me' by Agnes and 'Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)' by Freemasons ft. Sophie Ellis Bextor were the high water mark for commercial pop / dance music in 2009 and so rightly take their place here.
The cover versions are a surprising highlight - all have strong vocals, sweeping basslines and feel like legitimate remakes. 'Wicked Game', 'Piano In the Dark' and 'Sex On Fire' maintain the vibe of their original versions but transform them into storming dance tracks.
Another standout moment is the cheesy but unstoppable 'Little Love' by Locksmiths, which has the kind of chorus that can just make you smile. The Haji & Emanuel remix of Carolina Liar's 'Show Me What I'm Looking For' is testament to the ability of the dance remix to not only add a bassline but also to heighten the emotional pull of a song.
Best of all, 'Discotheque' by Elin Lanto is a little-known but joyful and life-affirming slab of contemporary disco that shines out from the very first time you hear it.
Fierce Angel have come up with a terrific collection to end the year and this will hopefully be the template for plenty more in 2010.