Album: Various artists

Help! A Day in the Life, INDEPENDIENTE
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The Independent Culture

This second play-in-a-day compilation in aid of the War Child charity was originally made available online a couple of weeks back, but now gets its bona fide CD release for those of us who prefer a less ethereal mode of delivery. It offers a neat time-capsule snapshot of where (mostly British) contemporary pop is at today, featuring virtually every hot young band bar Franz F and Kasabian, alongside a few rather more tepid contributors such as Coldplay, who open proceedings with a dollop of hand-wringing impotence, "How You See the World No 2". The Magic Numbers bring ingenuous charm to bear on "Gone Are The Days"; Tinariwen ply their hypnotic desert-blues groove on "Cler Achel", and Elbow elegantly dissect post-industrial decline on "Snowball", while elsewhere the contributions from the likes of The Coral, Bloc Party, Hard-Fi and Razorlight remain well within their capabilities. The bonhomie of Babyshambles' "From Bollywood to Battersea" isn't quite enough to draw one back to it again, but at least it's not Kaiser Chiefs' cover of "I Heard It through the Grapevine" or Keane and Faultline's cover of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", which are both just plain lazy. The best track, by about a hemisphere, is Gorillaz' "Hong Kong", which most sounds like it was done for creativity's sake, rather than just to fulfil an obligation.