The Levellers have proven themselves worthy rock contenders with a slew of organic anthemic pop-rock songs that fuel a lengthy twenty-six-year career. The band have managed to attract a cult following during those years, but haven’t received the widespread attention that they truly deserve. With the release of this deluxe 2 CD Greatest Hits Album, could this be their chance to turn this around? After all, there’s plenty here to keep the most dedicated of rock-listeners happy and engaged.
It should be noted that this isn’t your average Greatest Hits album; The Levellers haven’t merely thrown together a list of their most-loved songs on 2 CDs and left it at that. Many of these tracks have been re-recorded and given a new lease of life by adding guest artists into the mix. Billy Bragg lends his strong vocals to the song Hope Street, giving it an element of soul while violins and banjos serenade him. Even long-time Levellers fan, Frank Turner joins in the action, lending his vocal talents to Julie. Likewise, Imelda May’s strong female singing voice is perfect for Beautiful Day. Of course, if these new collaborations don’t quite suit your listening needs, the versions with lead singer Mark Chadwick’s vocals are also present here. Not that there’s anything wrong with the new versions since they add some variety to the record with its special guests.
The addition of guest artists aside, the album is a commendable display of The Levellers’ ability to craft anthemic pop-rock songs. A particular stand-out is One Way, bursting out with a strong rhythm section with singer Mark Chadwick passionately declaring “There is only one way of life and that’s your own, your own, your own” as he berates the working class lifestyle. Indeed, those who want their music to have a message won’t be disappointed here. Catchy rock song, Burn America Burn details the way the States are depicted in the media and how it is slowly destroying itself. It’s a song with rhythmic, grumbling guitars and a grouchy vocal from Chadwick, an honesty that doesn’t find its way into many songs in rock.
However, it would be honesty in itself for me to say that that The Levellers are one of the most criminally overlooked and underrated bands of all time. With some honest songwriting, great hooks and famous artists such as Billy Bragg and Frank Turner joining them on the record, The Levellers have put together an impressive collection of their hits and more, re-establishing themselves towards a brand new audience and hopefully garnering the recognition they deserve. If you’re looking for foot-tapping alternative rock, then you’ve come to the right place.