Having scored one of the surprise successes of 2009, three-piece vocal group the Soldiers, who have all previously served in Iraq and Afghanistan, return with the follow-up, Letters Home. Unsurprisingly, it sticks to the same winning formula of Coming Home, with renditions of classic, well-known tracks from MOR acts of the '70s and '80s. Given the circumstances surrounding the album, and the fact that part of its proceeds are being donated to various veteran charities, it seems churlish to criticize its clichéd track list. Nevertheless, the likes of the War Child albums prove that emotional messages don't always have to be conveyed through formulaic and overfamiliar standards. By tackling the likes of Rod Stewart's "Have I Told You Lately," the Beatles' "Yesterday," and Elton John's "Your Song," it's hard to differentiate the Soldiers from the thousands of karaoke singers who perform the same songs every weekend. Having toured with various Army bands, the trio undoubtedly possess musical talent, but their overearnest tones regularly veer into lounge singer territory, while their bland acoustic productions render much of the album indistinguishable. But despite its lack of invention, the album is capable of stirring emotion, particularly on opener "I Will Carry You," which features servicemen and women based in Helmund Province on backing vocals. And for anyone longing for an unlikely Robson & Jerome comeback, Letters Home confirms that the Soldiers are the next best thing.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien