Levellers - Static on the Airwaves
Long-derided by dint of simply being Levellers, the raggle-taggle folk rock troupe return on the cusp of their 25th anniversary - which plants the uncomfortable notion more recent carriers of the genre flag may well have been conceived in the back of a VW Camper to a soundtrack of Levelling The Land. It's a queasy thought - and one for which they perhaps should not be entirely forgiven. And yet, after personifying a cultural stereotype for such a long time, it's hard not to admire their persistence and dedication not only to the music, but to the causes they've championed since the outset.
There are no real surprises on Static on the Airwaves aside, perhaps, from the slightly odd baggy/folk mash-up that is 'We Are All Gunmen' but there are still enough solid anthems (the fiery single 'Truth Is', 'Mutiny') to sit alongside more reflective tracks, particularly the anxious-sounding tribute to 'Our Forgotten Towns', with its sea-shanty supporting vocals and restless fiddles that does its business in just over two minutes. Sympathetic production from Sean Lakeman, brother of Seth, gives the songs room to breathe and while Levellers are unlikely to trouble the charts these days, they've outlasted (most) of the music publications that used to give them such a hard time. Shoe-ins for Glastonbury 2013, you would imagine.