Various Artists - 'Dermot O'Leary Presents The Saturday Sessions 2013' Album Review
Using a tried-and-tested formula of acoustic versions and covers, this most recent instalment of the series sees further performances for Dermot O'Leary's radio show now available to own. The artists included cover a broad spectrum, from near-unknowns to arena fillers, and predictably results vary from the terrific to the terrible.
A brave and successful take on 'Eleanor Rigby' from Emeli Sande begins proceedings, while Will Young reminds us of his vocal talent on a lovely rendition of Blondie's 'Hanging On The Telephone'. The classic Jackson 5 number 'I Want You Back' loses its magic in the hands (or should that be voice?) of Rachel Sermanni, but the running is immediately rescued by The Do taking on Kings Of Leon's 'Sex On Fire'. They morph the rock anthem into a chill-out moment and in vocalist Olivia Merilahti have a fantastic talent. Of those presenting their own material, Florence + The Machine and Jessie J give solid presentations of 'Never Let Me Go' and 'Price Tag' respectively, while Robbie Williams' altered performance of 'Candy' does well to take it away from sounding like an advertising jingle and make it a folk-style sing-a-long.
An ill-advised attempt at Blur's 'Song 2' from Plan B begins the second disc in horrendous manner, something that becomes all the more surprising once you hear the beautifully soulful version of 'Empire State Of Mind' gifted by Maverick Sabre. Miles Kane gives a decent rendition of The 'Stones 'Play With Fire' before Dry The River provide a highlight of this release with a lovely cover of 'Homeward Bound', originally by Simon & Garfunkel. A trio of British bands close out this record and, for an act with such a fierce live reputation, Kasabian's 'Days Are Forgotten' is limp to say the least. By contrast, the Manic Street Preachers bring a raucous 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough' and Athlete provide a stirring 'Wires' - a worthy selection as the latter book-end.