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Truth & Lies

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Album Review

As far as the U.S. is concerned, the Levellers — for those who noticed — peaked in the early '90s with their excellent Britpop-meets-Celtic rock stateside debut, Levelling the Land, but as with similar groups like the Waterboys and the Wonder Stuff, the non-collegiate American audiences just couldn't get their collective heads around the material. Since then, the Levellers have achieved enough grassroots success in their homeland to support their very own festival, and album number ten, Truth & Lies, finds the Brighton, England, sextet in a familiar place. Big rousing choruses, manic fiddling, and heartfelt anthems aim for the stadium walls with surprising effectiveness, displaying either a newfound vitality or an amiable acceptance that what their fans want, their fans will get. Opener "Last Man Alive" flirts with Green Day-esque melodic punk, "Confess" revisits the Manchester-style, fiddle- and loop-based structure that made classics like "The Boatman" so addictive, and the spacious and grand "Sleeping" serves as a fitting end, channeling Mike Scott's "This Is the Sea" and Miles Hunt's "Sing the Absurd" with both reverence and frivolity. Truth and Lies breaks little ground for the veteran band, but it's as good as anything they've ever put out, and a little more self-assured.


Formed: 1988 in Brighton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Levellers formed in 1988, bringing together five Brighton, England, musicians -- Mark Chadwick (vocals, guitar, banjo), Alan Miles (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica), Jeremy Cunningham (bass, bouzouki), Charlie Heather (drums), and Jon Sevink (fiddle). Forging out a pseudo-hippie, slightly punky folk-rock with a Celtic flavoring, the band released two EPs on their own Hag label in 1989, which led to a contract with Musidisc. The band released their first album, A Weapon Called the Word, in...
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Truth & Lies, The Levellers
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