The Level Spirits : Double Crosser
It’s surprising what you can do with a basic rock ’n’ roll recipe and a dash of garage attitude. Sure, there’s nothing particularly surprising in the mix – no freaked out soundscapes bending your mind into irretrievable oblivion, or weird electronic collages destined to forever re-shape the boundaries of contemporary music as we know it – but it makes for many a damn good time.
And so it is with The Level Spirits. The Level Spirits are in the (amateur, like the best of ‘em) business of good ol’ fashioned rock ’n’ roll. Led by the siren-like pipes of Molly Jean Morrison, backed by the recently Stems-less songwriting and guitarist talents of Stems bass player Julian Matthews, The Level Spirits are the band you want to revive ailing rock ’n’ roll spirits when the world is saturated with sycophantic talentless turds wed in unholy matrimony with the parsimonious commercial parasites who run the music industry.
There’s a stompin’ and a shufflin’ on the opening title-track, somewhat akin to a gang of boozed-up rockers flexing their winkle-pickers to Gene Vincent on a Saturday night, Big Wheel eases out of the garage and onto the illicit suburban speedway with a sneer and a spit, while Take It Out is all whispers, soft kisses and images of Jackie DeShannon. The Meteors’ Psycho For Your Love gets a wild, rockabilly-and-benzos treatment, Bad Habit leans across the bar and waves a battered copy of an early Detroit Cobras single in the faces of disbelieving punters and Midnight Bus whisks you down a glistening road to a utopian world of teenage romance.
There’s even a faint whiff of Talking Heads’ Life During Wartime in the opening riff to Not As Much as it goes on to mine a rich ‘50s torch-song fragrance; Be Alone Tonight is a statement of individual defiance with a lick sharp enough to slit and spill your most vital of organs.
There was a time – about the time Vietnam and Watergate had plundered the vaults of American integrity and the country was searching for some semblance of cultural rehabilitation – that music like this would have been labelled pejoratively as ‘nostalgia’. It ain’t nostalgia. It’s the real deal. Getinnooit.