Review of Heroes Album by War Child

Review of 'Heroes', the new War Child compilation featuring Elbow, Scissor Sisters, The Kooks and more.

War Child Heroes Album

War Child is of course the amazing charity who helps children who have to live with the affects of war - work which is undeniably admirable.
More than just your average compilation, this album features legends picking the cream of contemporary talent to tackle one of the tracks from their back catalogue.

In recent times it seems that covering a popular song is the route to take for a bubblegum pop act looking to score a hit - and the result is often soulless and insulting to the original.
Anyone fearing an album of such lack of quality on this compilation needs not worry, as the majority of the contributions are either faithful and honest reproductions or new takes which work
very well. The Hold Steady's slightly beefed up take on Bruce Springsteen's 'Atlantic City' stands out for sheer enjoyment, while U2's 'Running To Stand Still' is perfectly suited to the beautiful tones of Elbow.
Franz Ferdinand bravely take on Blondie's 'Call Me', sensibly keeping changes to a minimum and while Alex Kapranos' vocals sound odd on such an established track it is a fun romp.
Speaking of Debbie Harry's band, Scissor Sisters' attempt at Roxy Music's 'Do the Strand' has shades of the group, particularly in Ana Matronic's vocals, while other recordings worthy of note
are The Kooks' cover of 'Victoria' by The Kinks and Lily Allen's take on The Clash's 'Straight To Hell' - the lady can seemingly do no wrong at the moment.

The quality of this record is only dragged down by a couple of the re-works, and surprisingly one of those comes from Duffy. An artist who has perhaps had unrivalled success over the last 12 months,
the decision to strip Paul McCartney's 'Live And Let Die' of all of it's dynamic musicianship is misguided and leads to a performance as unimpressive as her recent advertising
campaign for a soft drink. Estelle provides the other uninspired moment, a take on Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition', which to be honest she doesn't stand much of a chance with. An undoubtedly talented lady, her version had added funk which just doesn't work and mutilates what is an undeniable classic. These discrepancies shouldn't put you off this compilation though as generally speaking it is a good listen and most importantly it aids a great cause, so go and buy it.

Alex Lai

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