Album Reviews

Levellers – We The Collective

(On The Fiddle) UK release date: 30 March 2018

Levellers - We The Collective It’s all too easy to forget how big Levellers were for a time in the 1990s. Their best album, Levelling The Land, went platinum, and they headlined Glastonbury in 1994. But their crusty folk-punk fell quickly from favour, and these days people are quick to unfairly deride.

Dropping the punkier parts from the folk-punk hybrid is one means of dealing with this, and that’s what they’ve done with this acoustic album. We The Collective reworks eight previous tracks, and adds two new ones.

The reworked tracks are well chosen. Classics such as One Way and Hope Street are included, but it’s not all obvious hits. Levelling The Land B-side Dance Before The Storm gets a nice mellow arrangement, and Zounds cover Subvert is the punkiest track here, violin and drums between them doing a fine imitation of power chords.

The new songs seem uncharacteristically sombre: Shame is about the refugee crisis while Drug Bust McGee takes on the topic of undercover police and the deceit of sustained fake identities.

In fact, dealing with difficult topics isn’t all that new for the Levellers; it’s just that when the arrangements are stripped back they actually hit a little harder.

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More on Levellers
Levellers – Peace
Levellers – We The Collective
Levellers – Static On The Airwaves
Levellers @ Brixton Academy, London
Levellers – Letters From The Underground