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Various Artists The Flowerpot Sessions Review

Live. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Indie-folk types recorded live at the now-closed London venue.

Luke Slater 2011

The Flowerpot Sessions puts forward two broad genres, all tracks recorded by a merry band of musicians at the (now closed) London venue, some live and some in the temporary upstairs studio. Labelling it a folk-fest would not be far off the mark – especially with a tracklisting featuring Kill It Kid, Alan Pownall and Treetop Flyers, and the fact that it’s released on the label of Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, Communion.

But for all the folk, a smattering of blues brings variety, ensuring that the strumming of an acoustic guitar doesn't tire listeners' ears too soon. It also brings punch and passion, as Kill It Kid prove, managing to create a tidal wave of swinging saxophones and sliding guitars, all abounding in Something Funny. This is a great contrast to their morose, slow-moving Send Me An Angel Down, found elsewhere on this compilation. Too many tracks in this manner could wear one out after an extended play, though, and those with a barely passing interest in the sort of acts found on The Flowerpot Sessions might find a whole two discs a bit much.

That is not to say that the earnestness, which often abounds in this type of music, is incessant. There's some light, almost comic, relief from Beans on Toast with How The Dinosaurs Talk, performed in an indescribably gruff tone, which should not fail to raise a broad smile. Damien Rice and Angus and Julia Stone's cover of Grease's You're The One That I Want almost does exactly the same, bursting through sensible barriers with a large tongue firmly in the cheek. Other standouts include Lissie's laid-back excursion with Mt. Desolation, and Sam Beer's emotionally wrought Traffic.

Undoubtedly, The Flowerpot Sessions is a compilation of names who have a bright future ahead of them, and the album's 23 tracks represent some of the artists at close to their best, while others are caught exhibiting a less-serious tone, demonstrating the lightness in atmosphere of the sessions themselves. And the good news is that each track is strong enough to standalone outside of the compilation.  

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