XFM debut sessions

The XFM Debut Sessions CD could have been so good. The artists featured are all pretty well known acts, the audience would love to hear their tracks performed live. But what does this CD have on Radio One Live Lounge? Which would you buy?

It’s unfortunately extremely predictable, with indie kings, The Enemy, Wombats, View, Maccabees and Pigeon Detectives all on CD one. And once you recover from that burst of three chord craziness, Hot Club De Paris appear, bopping along to lyrics of an odd and ineffective nature. The first CD, in its defence has a few highlights. The Noisettes hardly put a foot wrong wherever they step, and their rendition of hit single ‘Sister Rosetta’ sets the CD on fire. Original performances from Mr Hudson and The Library, and Enter Shikari are also very interesting to catch, especially as the two tracks are less well known.

Which leads me to the real concern for XFM. The trouble with the first CD lies in the choice of tracks. Had Kate Nash performed an unfamiliar track taken from ‘Made of Bricks’, or Jack Penate had made ‘Torn on the platform’ sound less like the typical radio version, it would have been much more listenable.

Jo Wiley does it right- maybe that’s the problem. Acoustic works and live merely sounds like a poor version. CD 2 suffers the same fate. With CD 1 taken from the best of 2007 and the second disc, the best of a decade, I expected more from the second record. It opens up with The Fratellis and The Automatic, singing (surprise surprise) the only tracks anybody cares about from these artists- Chelsea Dagger and Monster. Again, the performances, although altered slightly, sound uncannily familiar to the originals, showing very little to entice the listener into thinking this a CD actually worth buying.

Bloc Party almost save disc two, but primarily because the performance sounds slightly different to the original. This as you can understand, was a continuous frustration for me. I preferred this disc once the first two tracks were over, as live performances from Elbow, Doves and Starsailor were memorable. The Libertines session featured artists who struggled to get their words out, and when they did- understanding them was another issue.

It does make you wonder, considering that the past decade is said to have brought a new generation of classic guitar music- I was struggling to see how this was well represented in the XFM debut sessions.