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4.7 out of 5 stars15
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2006
I have to admit, as a 73 year old man I was pleasantly surprised at how catchy this album is when my 19 year old grandson first (and not last) played it to me. My dancing days are long gone, but I can't help but have a small jive around the kitchen to such wonderful songs like "Leave This Town" and sing in rejoice to the catchy chorus of "Hope St", the first song on the album. This is a smashing record to have in the house!
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on 19 April 2001
I first became a Levellers fan at the age of 11, then after a while I went through a bit of a phase of liking less inspiring groups (no names mentioned!) and ruthlessly got rid of my Levs albums. Five years later I hear Hope Street while working out in the gym and start to become all reminiscent. Then I go out and buy ZeitGeist.... And suddenly all the memories come flooding back; everything from the haunting sound of Exodus and the extra catchy Fantasy, to the resting effect of Haven't Made It. The lyrics, the melodies, the insrumentation, everything about this album is pure quality. And a special mention has to go to Jon and his ever amazing fiddling talents! The only song which I'd give the slightest criticism to is PC Keen, which personally I'm not too KEEN on. (sorry about that joke!) Anyway, listening to the Levellers again has made me wonder why I ever went off them in the first place. If you've never heard them before and like listening to albums which are brilliant from start to finish, buy this. You won't be sorry.
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on 1 October 2002
Zeitgeist is the Levellers' 4th album and the first one recorded by the band in their own recording studio. It consists of 13 tracks many of which absolutely fantastic. After the disappointment of "Levellers", Zeitgeist puts the band firmly back into their former glory (i.e. "Levelling the Land"). The sound is a bit harder than on previous releases, most notably on the single "Hope Street" and the fast-paced "Leave this town". However the catchy celtic-folk-rock tunes which were the trademark of the band are still there, and so are a few beautiful ballads such as "Maid of the river" and "Men-an-Tol". All in all this is definitevely one of the best records in the band's discography and an absolute must-have for all the fans of folk-rock music.
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2008
This is pretty much the high water mark album for the Levellers, from their high water mark year: a 12-month stretch that saw them drawing Glastonbury's biggest ever stagefront crowd (a record not yet broken), founding their indie-green-anarchist HQ-cum-recording-studio/commune in Bristol then hitting the number 1 spot with this, their most successful album.

Yup, it really did seem as if earnest and politically engaged eco-politics were about to sweep the nation and the likes of Take That would have to trudge through the musical fallout, heads bowed like bloody penitents.

And yet my musically cognizant friends sneer at my affection for the Levellers. "New Model Army lite" is much bandied about and they stick a finger in one ear and make fol-diddle-rol noises. Very cruel. Still, if I had to produce one Levellers album to silence the detractors, "Zeitgeist" would be it.

For one thing, this is the album where the Levellers started to leave their fol-de-rol folk template behind. In the early '90s their hit One Way had become an anthem and touchstone for British travellers and left-leaning students and the band wisely ploughed this ideological furrow, marrying squalling fiddles to guitars that crunched and drums that pounded considerably harder than heretofore. Yes, they'd already done the Sex-Pistols-with-a-fiddle thing on "All The Free Commons Of England" but this time the eco-punk 'tude was wedded to a startling melodic sensibility. In short, this album delivered a flawless selection of folk-inflected pop/rock confections, delivering at times blistering social messages and occasionally pushing the envelop of musical genre in unexpected directions - like Exodus' surprisingly effective use of skeletal rap/dub over a pounding festival anthem and the best bass riff the band ever played (so good, in fact, they recycled it on the hypnotic Too Real on follow-up album Mouth to Mouth). The apocalyptic PC Keane verges into heavy metal territory, swerving with delirious contradiction into the boozy taproom shout-a-long that is Just The One. The nearest comparison for this sort of laddish blend of hard rock and ramshackle folk is the Faces (back when Rod was on form) but "Zeitgeist" embraces postmodern world music rhythms and the sort of electric power chords that once made Black Sabbath headliners. It's intoxicating stuff.

It seems unfair to condemn the Levellers for being "of their time", as if anyone could mistake London Calling or Dark Side of the Moon for albums cut yesterday. The Levellers wear their archaisms proudly on their sleeves, but this at least is an album that seems to emerge fully formed from no discernible decade or musical movement. You simply have to take it as it is, even if that means being, on occasions, "shouted at by a bunch of crusties" as the sceptics would have it.

So, what happened next? The melodies sweetened for slick follow-up Mouth to Mouth but some of the passion and anger was missing. After that, the Levellers seemed to lose direction and certainly lost my attention. Further back in time, Levelling the Land contains their alt.folk crowdpleasers, but "Zeitgeist" stands alone as the album no other band could have created. I don't listen to it often, but every time I do, it's a rollercoaster.
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on 24 September 2000
Easily the greatest Levellers release. There is just the right combination between heavy and light tracks, and Jon Sevink's violin never fails to please.
Every track is amazing, except PC Keen (a really bad song!); very hard to choose the best of the album, but it's probably Forgotten Ground, because of its superb mix of styles and expert banjo accompaniment. Fantasy, Exodus and Leave this Town come close, though.
Hard to imagine a better album.
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on 29 June 2007
The Levellers have made some dodgy musical decisions in their later years but buy this album and you can forgive them for every one! This is the sound of a band in their prime - young enough to rock out with passion but experienced enough to put together a professional recording. The performances and production values on this record are about the best the Levellers have ever done.

The overall sound of the album is very up-tempo rock but with all the quirkiness and inspiration you'd expect from the unlikeliest rock superstars Britain has ever produced. Hope Street is pure stadium power-rock, Saturday to Sunday is drive-time folk-rock at its best, Fantasy is sneery 1970s punk and Maid of the River is pure 60s/70s style folk revival (it's even got hammond organ!). The talent of the Levellers is evident in the fact that none of this sounds out of place. They can switch from blasting punk rock to a gentle celtic folk ballad without sounding like they're being wilfully eclectic just for the sake of it.

This is one of those records that you'd actually be foolish not to own. If you have the slightest interest in rock music, I suspect this record will be looked back on as an all-time classic.
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on 21 November 2010
I'm 19 years old and I can safely say that no band or artist from my era can even touch these guys. Not my favourite album by them but still brilliant nevertheless. If you're into your folk-rock and acoustic music then this is a great album to check out. Well worth the money and will have you singing/humming along in no time at all.
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on 27 August 2006
Bought this album last week and haven't stopped listening to it.

Jon's fabulous fiddle playing completely blew my mind and the lyrics are so catchy. I especially love men-an-tol. If you haven't yet bought this album, why not?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 April 2013
I first heard Brighten folk-rockers Levellers by chance, through listening to to a few of their tracks on a '90s indie compilation CD.

1995's 'Zeitgeist', their fifth studio album was is the first CD by the band that I purchased, and it definitely wasn't the last, these guys had me from the first listen.

With quality production, there is a good variety of songs on 'Zeitgeist', but the standout tracks for me include the infectious anthem-like 'Hope St', the emotional, simplistic beauty of 'Maid of the River', and the catchy, harder sounding rocker 'Leave This Town'. 'Zeitgeist' serves a great introduction to these men, and offers contemporary folk/acoustic rock music at it's very best. Whilst it isn't their best work overall, it was perhaps the Levellers' most mature effort at the time, a little more folksy, and still a five star worthy release from the guys who gave us the inspiring anthem 'One Way'.

Highly recommended!
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on 15 July 2007
By the time of 1995's 'Zeitgeist' the Levellers had broadened their audience to include a significant chunk of the nation's youth and this album hit number one. It is also one of their very best, the lyrics are still angry and biting in places and the music generally sparkles. Hilights include the losers' anthem 'Hope St', the beautiful eco-lament 'Maid of the River', Simon Friend's visionary 'Men-an-Tol'and the cheery beery drinking song 'Just the One'. This new version is given a well needed remastering job and some excellent bonus tracks from the singles.
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