A new Levellers album. A chance for those who were students in the early 90s to relive the days when they believed there really was only "One Way" of life. But will this new album be able excite us now that we've all grown up and become the business exec/accountants that we used to love to hate?
I wondered whether the Levellers were attempting to get people like me to dust down their tie-dyes and head off in a camper van, or whether they're attempting to attract a new generation of middle class hippies. Lets examine the evidence...
To take the album at face value, it's not half bad. "Four Winds" is a catchy opener and no doubt you'll be singing along to the chorus in no time.
However, vocalist Mark Chadwick sums up the over-riding sentiment in "Falling From The Tree" when he sings 'I just can't get back to where I've been'. Much as it pains me to say it, he's probably right.
Energy levels amongst the songwriters have clearly declined over the years as there are far more ballads on the album than anticipated. But the Levellers prove they can still pen an upbeat tune. "Pretty Target" starts with a guitar riff that's bordering on indie; just add a violin and were back to Levelling the Land again. 'I won't let you down' coos Mark. And they don't. After all, this is what the Levellers do best.
In "Wild As Angels" a certain recurring theme becames evident in the lyrics. It seems that the Levellers realise they've grown older too. 'With heavy wings I can recall the freedom flown'. I know how he feels! This track saves the album though and revives memories of how vibrant and energetic the Levellers are as a live band.
Overall Green Blade Rising is one long plea for the stable base of Levellers fans to keep the faith. In "Wake The World" they claim 'You were brave when you were young. Would you ever believe it could all come undone?' The answer is no, but then I never believed I'd have to work for a living either. They finally lay themselves bare as they 'take a look around to see who's still listening'. We are still listening, but only just.
File this under one for posterity and let the next generation decide.
Like This? Try These:
Richard Ashcroft - Human Conditions
David Gray - A New Day At Midnight --Nikki Smith
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Brand new - we ship worldwide