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A Weapon Called the Word

The Levellers

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Album Review

The Levellers' first full-length release, after a well-received pair of EPs, falls somewhere in between the Mekons in the middle of their political-folky days and the hard-edged trad folk-rock of the Oyster Band, with a foreshadowing of Ani DiFranco's direct folk-punk as well. More rock than folk, but obviously rooted in traditional British folk idioms, A Weapon Called the Word is a tough, occasionally strident call to arms that wisely couches its agenda in unexpectedly catchy choruses and memorable melodies. From the fiddle-driven opener "World Freak Show" through the singles "No Change" and "The Ballad of Robbie Jones," the scruffy quintet play with the passion of folkies and the intensity of young punks. Some tracks work better than others — "Barrel of the Gun," trenchant though it is, says nothing that hasn't been said more eloquently before — but the best songs on A Weapon Called the Word have an astringent power.

Biography

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,...
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A Weapon Called the Word, The Levellers
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