While it’s always been easy to sneer at the earnestness of The Levellers, the band themselves possessed enough self-awareness when they sang, ‘And all the problems of this world won’t be solved with this guitar.’ Yet that said, it’s difficult to ignore the evidence that The Levellers veer wildly from hopeless naivety to righteous outrage.
When they get it right – see the folk-punk indignation of The Game or the alcoholic lament that is Fifteen Years – they combine insight and commentary with a musical verve that still sounds exciting this far down the line. These are songs aimed for the feet as much as for the head, and they’re a heady brew that evokes the days of party as protest in the early 90s.
When they get it wrong, as on the arse-clenching whimsy of The Boatman, they come across as gormless dreamers, yet there’s no denying the justified anger at the still potent Battle Of The Beanfield. Topped off with a live CD and a DVD shot at Brixton Academy in 2011, this edition is really for completists and newcomers only.