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The Revellers The Revellers
Album: Skeletons
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

In true Lloyd Grossman style, who'd release an album like this. Let's look at the evidence. The Revellers…sounds a bit like The Levellers, maverick folk rockers with a political bent and Jon Sevink's distinctive reverb fiddle lead. There's even a fiddle on the album cover, leaning against a throne on which sits a skeleton - as in the album title and looking like a not too distant relative of long term Iron Maiden mascot Eddie - positioned in a crypt decorated with skulls; the typical heavy metal gesture, so the theme is shifting to more of a rock base. More clues on the reverse: more skulls and bones plus a coffin (naturally) filled with electric guitars. Definitely a rock band, but wait! A mandolin stands guard at the foot of the cask. The CD booklet reveals live shots of the band - leaping in the ait in front of a wild and raucous audience or guitars (and mandolin) raised in a gesture not seen since the halcyon days of Status Quo not to mention a shot of the band up to some shenanigans gathered round a sign for the town of Cock Bridge - all very fnarr fnarr.………yes, the clues are there.

Then there's the music. The second album from the seven piece is a classic case of doing what it says on the tin, the evidence pointing to a hard rock core decorated with some folk icing and an expectation of exuberant musicality, lyrical bite and possibly a dash of satire. The labels "Heavy folk" or "Viking metal" have been bandied about and aren't too far off the mark when you hear some Iron Maiden styled twin guitar duelling a la 'The Trooper' on 'City Lights' and on 'Kamikaze' and its defiant clarion call of "heroes never die, you only get one try." An air of defiance combined with joi de vivre and an energy surplus providing a stinging nip. In fact take a pin and stab it in the CD booklet and likely as not you'll hit something like "be strong…trust no-one…weary toil…no more bloodshed…", the songs packed out with tub thumping philosophies. All driven chameleon like by an acoustic folky passion one minute and an full charged rock backing the next, you can almost smell the leather and denim.

Mark Chadwick of the Levs has called them "our favourite band in the world," something that they're going to use to their advantage, and on the recorded evidence they do enough to encourage you to take heed and see them do their stuff in the flesh.

Mike Ainscoe