Like Status Quo did with their unexpectedly good Aquostic I and II albums in 2014 and 2016, British Folk Rock band The Levellers are remodelling hits from their back catalogue for their latest self-released album Together All The Way. This is a spiritual sequel to their 2018 album We The Collective, but instead of acoustic versions, they have stripped everything back to a more traditional folk sound.
Just like its aforementioned predecessor, Together All The Way is a success – casting otherwise upbeat and boisterous songs in a new light. The punky folk/rock of ‘The Game’ from Levelling The Land, gets a moody makeover – casting the raucous original in an enveloping melancholia. The fan favourite cut from the same album ‘Battle Of The Beanfield’ gets an atmospheric, almost cinematic makeover awash with urgent strings and Mark Chadwick’s passionate vocals.
The thick bass and Celtic rock of ‘Sell Out’ is transformed into an alt-pop song, with lush harmonies and an acoustic shuffle not too dissimilar to Edie Brickell & New Bohemians ‘What I Am’. The driving guitar and Beatles-esque melodic charms of ‘Wheels’, from 2005’s Truth and Lies, is now all softly struck and sweetly sung melodies.
They have given their old songs a new lick of paint, and a new lease of life as a result – and the fact it was recorded live adds to its charms. They wrote three new tracks for this, their thirteenth record, and they suit the more traditional sound well – with the riotous bundle o’ fun ‘Down By The River ‘O’ the best of the bunch. Not far behind is the last track ‘Sitting In The Social’, with its earworm-like bar room chanting and tribal drums belying its tale of busking and hunger.
Clocking in at thirty-two minutes, and peppered with a few new tracks for good measure, Together All The Way is a short, sharp, and sweet album that reimagines tracks from their past in a refreshing new light.
Buy the album here:
8 / 10