VARIOUS ARTISTS – Help : A Day In The Life (Indepeniente)

For this charity album a number of the biggest indie bands of the day were asked to record a track in a single day and donate it to help children affected by war in Africa. The call-out managed to persuade bands like Bloc Party, Razorlight, Keane, Radiohead, Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow, Babyshambles, and Manic Street Preachers to participate, and so if you like any of those bands then this album is something of a must. All of the tracks are brand new, with a couple of them being covers – Keane’s take on Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and the Kaiser Chief’s version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ – but mostly they are brand new originals which at the moment are unavailable elsewhere. As well as giving you new songs by bands you love it also acts as a sampler for up and coming bands that you may not have heard, and so for me it was good to hear songs by Hard-Fi, Mylo, The Go! Team, and the previously unknown but excellent Emmanuel Jal, and I may well investigate them further in the future. Highlights are many, but Coldplay’s contribution could easily sit on their new album, and tracks by Maximo Park, Magic Numbers, Bloc Party, and Razorlight are far from throwaways. Razorlight particularly impressed me, as I had not previously been that keen on their work, and while I have nothing by the Manics post ‘Everything Must Go’, I still enjoyed their energetic ‘Leviathan’. Babyshambles’ contribution ‘From Bollywood To Battersea’ is OK, but proves to me once and for all that Pete Docherty is a perfect example of hype exceeding talent, whereas Gorillaz oriental styled ‘Hong Kong’ is much better than I expected. At under a tenner for twenty tracks and over seventy minutes of music - and bearing in mind that you are helping to save lives - this CD is an essential purchase.