Album Review: The Levellers – “Static on The Airwaves”
I must admit I’ve always had a soft spot for the Levellers’ folk-punk anarcho-leftie clatter, as it’s always resounded well with my own ideals… up to a point. And really, that point was probably the mid to late 90s, when, to all but the most ardent die-hard fan, the Levellers can safely be said to have lost it.
Over 10 years, the band that were once the epitome of idealist rebellion really became everything they were supposed to despise – pompous, self important rock stars, throwing petulant tantrums, showing no respect to their crew or their fans, and playing ridiculous picnic garden parties to the comfortable middle class – whilst all the time still playing the egalitarian working class heroes. Once you believe you’re better than your crew and fans – the people that put and keep you where you are – then you’re doing the Levellers wrong. The clue’s in the name really.
And of course out of that comes the 10 years plus of mediocre records, an even bigger crime. And, sad to say it, this is another one. The hypocrisy of the faded radical is there in spades, referencing wave after wave of current protest themes, when it’s so painfully obvious the last time they saw a baton charge was Newbury Bypass in ‘96. It’s such a shame – now more than ever, bands like the Levellers could make a real statement about the mess we’re in. But they just don’t seem all that bothered.
The overall feel of this record is wet. Wet, and stodgy. If this were a pie, then warmed up a bit it might be alright, but even then, there’s still no substance to it – I’ve had vegan lentil stews at demos that have had more meat in. Outside the die-hard anarcho-capitalist fan collective, this is a record that will be bought by people that read the turgid review in the Sunday Times Magazine, and that just makes me sad.