Following on the heels of the documentary film of the same name that covered the lively post-punk era in Scotland, Big Gold Dreams widens the scope and digs deeper than the film did. The five-disc set covers the years 1977 to 1989 and charts the winners, losers, oddballs, and geniuses who helped shape one of the more intriguing and rewarding music scenes of its age. The first disc mostly shows how the Scots reacted to the punk explosion and gathers up all sorts of rough-hewn gems that blend manic energy and huge pop hooks. Tracks like the Rezillos' "I Can't Stand My Baby," the Freeze's "Paranoia," and Bee Bee Cee's "You Gotta Know Girl" proved that there were plenty of bands around the country making first-rate punk-pop. Once that groundwork was laid, bands started shooting off in all sorts of interesting directions. Disc two captures a wide range of sounds that stretch from the goth goofiness of Altered Images to the bombastic art pop of the Associates, and the arch artiness of Josef K to the stuttering lo-fi synth pop of Thomas Leer. There's a nice mix of well-known artists and obscurities here and through the rest of the set; half the joy of working through the tracks is finding gems like the Delmontes' "Tous Les Soir" or APB's immense dance-punk floor-filler "Palace Filled with Love." The next three discs follow a similarly diverse course, but a couple strands start to come into focus with the jangly introspective pop of Creation Records bands like Jasmine Minks and Biff Bang Pow, the noisy clatter of post-C86 bands like Shop Assistants and the Vaselines, and the sophisticated sound of post-Postcard artists like Paul Quinn and the Orchids helping to shape much of what people think of when they think of the country's music. Of course, there is still a lot of ground to cover outside those areas, and the compilation does a really fine job sorting and presenting lesser-known songs by big bands like the Cocteau Twins, Aztec Camera, and the Waterboys; left-field gold like the High Bees' lilting ballad "Some Indulgence" or the Church Grims' chiming chamber pop miniature "Think Like a Girl"; and forgotten classics like Edwyn Collins' brilliant slice of big pop "Don't Shilly Shally" or Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes' great "The Adam Faith Experience." Even without any tracks by Orange Juice, Big Gold Dreams paints a picture of Scotland as an underground pop music paradise. Listeners could drop in anywhere on any of the discs and find a string of songs guaranteed to bring a smile to their face, a lump to the throat, or a swelling heart. It's a well-chosen, carefully annotated collection made both for people who were there and want a trip down memory lane and for a newcomer looking to do some serious exploring. Either one will come away glad they took the time to take this deep dive into some of the best music ever made.