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Communion Presents The Flowerpot Sessions (Review)

The Flowerpot Sessions

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THERE’S plenty to admire on Communion Records’ double album, The Flowerpot Sessions, a live series of collaborations recorded in the summer of 2010 at London’s now defunct Flowerpot venue in Kentish Town.

Communion is the independent label founded by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett with producers Ian Grimble and Kev Jones and the sessions came about as the result of an invitation by the trio for a host of musicians to come down and record their collaborations in a makeshift studio upstairs, before then performing live downstairs to fans in the evenings.

The likes of Lissie, Angus & Julia Stone, Damien Rice, Pete Roe, Marcus Foster and Sarah Blasko all feature on the record.

The ensuing double CD (which also comes in a 3-disc package containing a documentary DVD) bears all the hallmarks of a Communion recording and owes a lot to the folk roots of virtually every artist. It’s also more thoughtful and intimate than folk-rock driven (a la Mumford & Sons), making it an excellent evening kick-back, Sunday morning session or dinner party accompaniment.

Of the 23 tracks, most resonate in some way, but there are, of course, stand-out moments. These include Lissie and Mt Desolation’s Oh Mississippi and Damien Rice and Angus & Julia Stone’s stripped back and almost melancholy take on the Grease classic You’re The One That I Want. It’s completely different but equally as memorable, though definitely not as sing-along.

On a lighter, more breezy note is the James Moss offering For Birds, featuring some sublime harmonising from The Staves, which almost carries a Deep South flavour. It’s disarmingly simple but supremely effective.

Alan Pownall’s Heart of Hearts is a dusky but endearing gem, as is Pete Roe’s Bellina, while Angus & Julia Stone and Sarah Blasko team-up to brilliant effect on To Let Go. Indeed, Blasko crops back to equally mesmerising effect on Disc 2’s All I Want, an acoustic take on one of the highlights from her own solo album, As Day Follows Night. It’s one of a couple of moments that make those hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Also worthy of note are Kill It Kid and Joker & The Thief’s collaboration on the bluesy Something Funny and, conversely, Beans on Toast’s loopy How The Dinosaurs Talk, which must have been as fun to record as it is to listen to.
Like we said, there’s plenty to recommend this double CD.

Download picks: Something Funny, Oh Mississippi, Heart of Hearts, To Let Go, For Birds, You’re The One That I Want, All I Want, Dividing Line, How The Dinosaurs Talk

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Something Funny – Kill it Kid feat Joker And The Thief
  2. Oh Mississippi – Lissie ft Mt Desolation
  3. It’s About Time – Treetop Flyers
  4. To Let Go – Angus & Julia Stone feat Sarah Blasko
  5. Scattered Hearts – Monument Valley
  6. Hands to Hold – Kyla La Grange ft Marcus Foster and Matthew And The Atlas
  7. Patient Love – Passenger feat Angus & Julia Stone band
  8. Mexico – The Staves
  9. Bellina – Pete Roe
  10. Heart of Hearts – Alan Pownall
  11. Movement – Marcus Foster feat Ryan O’Reilly Band, Kyla La Grange, Chris Maas and Kevin Jones

CD2

  1. Dividing Line – Mt Desolation feat Lissie
  2. Send Me An Angel Down – Kill it Kid with string section
  3. Traffic – Sam Beer
  4. For Birds – James Moss feat The Staves
  5. You’re The One That I Want – Damien Rice and Angus & Julia Stone
  6. Brixton Hill – Ryan O’Reilly
  7. All I Had – Hughie Gavin
  8. Old Fashioned Morphine – Tom McKean & The Emperors
  9. All I Want – Sarah Blasko
  10. Beneath The Sea – Matthew and the Atlas feat Marcus Foster, Kyla La Grange and Ryan O’Reilly Band
  11. How The Dinosaurs Talk – Beans on Toast
  12. Little Eyes – Crowns feat Ben Lovett, Beans on Toast and The Staves