A 2CD collection direct from XFM's archives of session recordings and live performances.
Focusing on debut albums, this album features some of the hottest UK acts to release their first longplayers in 2007, alongside classic British artists of the last 10 years. Each of the 36 tracks will be a version of a cut from the artist's debut album recorded exclusively for XFM. These recordings have never been available before and is a must have album for fans of cutting edge new artists and of some of the biggest acts to come out of the UK in the last decade.
Billed as a best of the hottest UK acts of 2007 and the last 10 years, XFM Debut Sessions is very much a hit-and-miss affair. Granted there are one or two classic early performances spread across this compilation but really some of the acts don't even warrant a half-arsed b-sides album.
Take CD 1. Considering this is supposed to be dubbed 'The Class Of 2007', there are more than a fair share of howlers on here. How anyone could throw in Enter Shikari's techno hardcore dumper Jonny Sniper or anything by the brace snapping Dexys pretenders, The Rumble Strips, seems ludicrous. Surely a Klaxons' classic or a moody number from The Good, The Bad And The Queen would have been sufficient?
Thankfully the likes of Jamie T, The Enemy, The View, Bat For Lashes and even Calvin Harris go some way to fulfilling 'The Class of 2007' tag. Jamie T's live rendition of Sheila, in particular, sounds far grittier live than it ever did on record as does The View's acoustic rendition of Same Jeans.
And then there's CD2, appallingly titled 'The Best Of A Decade'. Unbelievably most of the tracks here are lifted from performances over the last four years with a meagre five songs making up the rest of the remaining six.
Yet again early performances from Arctic Monkeys and the likes of Muse would have gone some way to ensuring this was a CD worthy of its title. Seriously though when has anything by Nine Black Alps been worthy enough to match up to anything by the likes of Bloc Party, Editors, Kasabian or Kaiser Chiefs?
To make matters worse some of the recordings are shambolic here particularly The Libertines' barely audible What A Waster which sounds more like The Pogues' Shane MacGowan after ten pints of lager. Only Bloc Party's blistering rendition of Banquet, Editors' bombastic take on Munich and a tear jerking punch drunk New Born by Elbow come close to anything like 'Best Of The Decade'.
The sad thing is with a little more thought, XFM Debut Sessions could have been the classic compilation it threatens to be. As it stands it leaves you feeling bitterly short changed. --Damian Jones
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