So, we’re all talking about mental health, at last. Or, at least, we’re talking about talking about it, and increased awareness is an essential starting point. Most of us are now aware of the statistics. Whether said statistics are an indication of that increased awareness and improved diagnosis or an indictment on our society is perhaps unclear, but the lack of government funding for even the most basic of treatment and support is very much apparent. One could argue that there’s little point talking about it when there’s no help available.
Charities can only do so much, but at least they’re there, and this release – a whopping three-disc, 50-tracker – with its proceeds going to Mind, Samaritans, Nordff Robbins, and Music Support has to be applauded simply for existing.
It’s of no consequence whether or not I think all of the tracks on it are great or not – and starting off with a cover of the way over-covered ‘Perfect Day’ doesn’t exactly fill me with a rush of enthusiasm – but then again, there are some notable names on here, including Nik Kershaw, Paul Young, Mari Wilson, Tom Robinson, Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook, Phil Mazanera of Roxy Music, Andy Fairweather Low.
And alongside these luminaries of various old gardes stand an array of new and lesser-known names, some of whom contribute interesting and promising songs here, with Daphne Guiness’ glam-stomping pop, Junkboys wistful, meandering, string-soaked indie, and the ethereal shoegaze of LO//T being particularly worthy of mention. Man Without Country’s dream-pop take on The Beloved’s ‘Sweet Harmony’ isn’t bad, either.
But this isn’t about individual contributions: it’s about artists from all genres and from a broad demographic coming together, pitching rare and unreleased cuts for a cause. Being an independent release, it’s not some Comic Relief profile-booster, but a labour of love that says these artists are among many who care – many who’ve probably experienced some form of mental health issue, albeit depression or anxiety or something yet more severe. And while music can’t change the world, it can help make it a better place.