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Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Levellers - Levelling the Land

The Levellers somewhat passed me by in early nineties. I'd heard a few of their songs that I think Evlkeith played me, but I was always a little underwhelmed by there offerings. Roll on twenty years however, and they sound surprisingly fantastic.

How I come to have a copy of 'Levelling the Land' is anyone's guess, but if it's on the CD pile, it gets listened to in the end. In this case I'm seriously glad I gave it a go. The whole album sounds like a greatest hits compilation and I somehow felt all the songs were old friends from the moment I heard them. This is hi-octane, fiddle fuelled folk with a touch of eco-politics thrown in for good measure and I'm bemused that I let them slip through the net. The songs themselves have that timeless folky feel and themes, but the arrangement and instrumentation wouldn't sound out of place today. Like New Model Army before them, they seem to exist in a bubble outside of popular culture, which can only be a good thing.

I've been happily singing along to the entire album in the car, but the standout tracks are the fast paced charge of 'The Game', the campfire jig of 'Far from Home' and the anthemic 'Sell Out'. I can only imagine how great the Levellers were as a live band with such an array of classic and passionate songs. It just goes to show how wrong you can be. Maybe they were ahead of their time, or perhaps their political views seem so much more relevant in the 21st Century, but the Levellers are definitely worth revisiting and this album seems as good a place to start as any.


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