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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.

Customer Reviews

Little too processed

Another Levellers album that isn't fantastic - I hate giving them average reviews because they're such a favorite band of mine but it's just too much wall of sound. I really felt like their earlier albums had a wider range of silence vs. noise - layers of sound - and the vocals always felt very raw. I am no music expert but to my laypersons ear it almost sounds like the past two albums have had just a teeny bit too much done in post. I'm sorry to the official iTunes reviewer, but there is no "This is the Sea" on this album.

Truth & Lies

Truth & Lies starts out with the rocking Last Man Alive, and there for a second I'm sure every Leveller fan who's been following their careers thinks "Oh man, so this is the album they get back to their bashing best!"
But not so fast...this is actually just a slightly beefed-up version of more of the same from the boys. And the truth of the matter is, the formula becomes a little stale, mainly because I think the writing here is a little flimsier than on previous attempts.
Certainly not bad, but of the albums since the awesome Zeigeist, probably the weakest of the bunch. There are some good tracks here, but if there ever was a time you might pick and choose from the Leveller's catalogue, well...this is it. For Us All, Wheels, and The Damned are all first-rate tracks that shouldn't be passed up, while Last Man Alive, Confess and Steel Knife deserve consideration.

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,...
Full Bio
Truth & Lies, The Levellers
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