Various Rock for Relief

Ever since Band Aid’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was released back in 1984, the music world has fully embraced the idea of charity records, and Rock For Relief is just the latest addition to this long, long list. All the proceeds from this album go to the non-profit organisation Mercy Corps, and will benefit the victims of recent natural disasters including the Indian Ocean tsunamis, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, and the earthquake in Pakistan. The bigger names here are Jack Johnson, who lets the crowd do most of the singing on a live take of "Days like These,” plus Citizen Cope, O.A.R. and Guster, who don’t really contribute their A-list material. The rest of the CD is pleasant enough listening, with lots of sensitive acoustic guitars and heartfelt lyrics, but nothing really stands out. It is always hard to argue with the philosophy behind charity albums because there is simply nothing but good intentions here. Yet this lacklustre collection of rare and live songs could never be described as essential or even necessary. (Zoë)