I caught young High Peak band The Levis a few months before Christmas at the Leadmill playing support to the mighty Spinn. Given Spinn are total masters of the live stage, I wondered whether these young Levis guys might be a bit awed by the occasion. Not a bit of it; I was struck by the bands complete joy in performing and the chirpy chat of lead singer Max. Even had I not enjoyed the quality slice of indie they were presenting I would have warmed to these guys.
I might have a few decades on these lads, but I think it would be a fun Sheffield night out in their company (ha ha more for me rather than them).
Moving forward a few months and after a bit of a distribution messfest, The Levis’ new EP Nothing Less is finally here. I always think it incredibly difficult for a band in indie; there’s over 40 years of history and it’s so difficult to cut a new vibe. Sometimes the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke’ just works and the Levis haven’t attempted to break the mould; instead they have raced for quality. The boys have done good here, no scrub that, the boys have done great. This EP is total class.
I do want to clear one thing up; I’ve seen the band described as The Levis (by the band) but occasionally with a stray apostrophe, so The Levi’s. As a mildly dyslexic writer I really spot and ponder how the meaning of words can alter by a little smuge on the page. Anyway, Max cleared up my mind ramble. It is The Levis. You’re welcome.
Opener Expect This is led throughout by a thrusting guitar, and given Max and I have held a recent chat about our mutual love for The Strokes, that’s certainly one of the bands channelling through this track and indeed the EP. The band are pushing at an open door in my world, and they capture a very clear and pure indie sound. It’s harder than it might seem to produce something both intricate but without unnecessary clutter.
Nothing Less is the lead track from the EP and again there’s a class riff and a very tempting sing along chorus. The guys disarmingly confess the song is something of a lyrical ramble; if the lads ever make it big, perhaps it’s going to be one of those tracks where its meaning is endlessly debated. I’m happy to roll with Max: “It doesn’t mean anything really”. We need the plain talking The Levis: Rock and Roll demystified in five words. Just imagine the meal Chris Martin would have made.
If the Beatles had been born 20 years later, and were producing their early music in the early 80’s then I suspect their chirpy exuberance would sound something like the clean, rolling and simple Only One. While the vocals are straightforward, there’s some nice interesting guitar work once again woven into this track. Good As Gold ends the EP on a chirpy high with a rolling but intricate and pleasingly busy 3 chord tune going on. It’s one of those insanely catchy tunes you will find in your head while walking in the park.
I think the band (Max Stokes (vocals, rhythm guitar), Tommy Kearney (lead guitar), Toby Chatterton (bass guitar) and Jack Kearney (drums) have produced a really strong and clear piece of class. Dear reader, I have so much music crammed in my head the pavement behind me is littered with stray notes, but I’m going to be hanging onto these Levis tunes for ages.
It says something about the songs that I certainly recall at least 2 being played in Sheffield. If you want to catch some of the buzz of The Levis live, they are proudly flying the flag for Sheffield at a Sheffield v Manchester band battle staged by Right Good Music at the lovely Castle in Manchester (ace beer) on April 18th.