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The Levellers - 'Static On The Airwaves' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/30/e9/7e/2856_thelevellersstaticontheairwaves_1350407280.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 16, 2012    
 
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The Levellers haven't yet forgotten how to write a decent tune.

The Levellers have been around for 22 odd years now, looking like they'd tarmac your drive as much as play a gig. Despite this, many have been captivated by their political, environmentally conscious yet catchy repertoire. Politics or appearance aside, there are few people who can resist tapping a foot to the likes of 'Beautiful Day', or appreciating the solemn power of 'Hope Street', and in this lies then band’s true strength: the ability to rise above people's perceptions.

Personally, I’ve not been bowled over by recent Levellers albums, which have fallen into the trap of having a few standout tracks and too many average ones. 'Static On The Airwaves' sees a return to what I consider the core strengths of the band - gritty, catchy folk rock, spiced up with aggressive, lively fiddle playing and well placed guitars, all tied together with some fantastic lyrics (and a bit of string that also doubles as a dog lead). Most importantly, it's an album that throws plenty of catchy tunes at the listener.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The track that will get everyone hopping is the single “Truth Is”, which is about as traditional a Levellers song as you will ever get, with a frantic jig on the fiddle precluding a well paced, lively anthem that will see live audiences drunkenly carousing round in circles, waving cider bottles about for all their worth and moaning about the government. My personal favourite is the short “Forgotten Towns”, consisting of Mark Chadwick’s vocals backed solely by Jonathan Sevink on fiddle, and it’s a very powerful portrait of what's left of Britain's high streets. Elsewhere they have a go at online addiction, America and the old favourite, war (so exactly what is it good for), in the beautiful album closer “The Recruiting Sergeant”, a modern reworking of the Black Watch anthem “Twa Recruitin Sergeants”.

I didn't expect to, but I have enjoyed 'Static On The Airwaves' more than any Levellers album from the last decade, and am looking forward to hearing some of the new tracks live. It's not perfect, and has it's peaks and troughs, but whilst the peaks are sky high, the troughs still reach for that sky, with nary a duffer in sight. Angry and politically aware they may be, but The Levellers haven’t yet forgotten how to write a decent tune. In the end, we’re all of the fiddle…

Alan Holloway

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