Crass

Do they owe us a melody?
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Feeding Of The 5000 - The Second Sitting
*Stations Of The Crass
*Merry Crassmas 7"
*Penis Envy
*You'll Ruin It For Everyone
*Christ - The Album
*Who Dunnit? 7"
*Yes Sir, I Will
*Christ - The Bootleg
*Best Before
*Acts Of Love
*10 Notes On A Summer's Day EP
The first time I heard The Feeding Of The 5000, I was flabbergasted by how incredibly inept the entire band was. The singer couldn't sing; heck, he could hardly talk! The guitars just made a bunch of semi-punk quasi-reggae noise, and the drummer just played this same midtempo martial drumbeat during every single song. Thus, I quickly wrote them off as a less talented Subhumans - British, yeah; political, most definitely; but interesting? Hell no! But, in a manner very similar to that of famed NYC DJ Vin Scelsa, I listened to it - and listened to it - and finally realized that it was a great revolutionary new rock and roll record. Great 'cuz, well, it was FUN. Revolutionary because... well, they're revolutionaries. No, I shouldn't go THAT far. But Crass were certainly more than just a rock and roll band. They had their own little Crass House, printing press, black uniforms and all sorts of fun society scrapings of related nature. The band was just one of many vehicles they used to drive their messages of peace, love, and anarchy into the hearts and minds of anybody who could somehow decipher Steve Ignorant's thick British accent.

Great band - and extremely influential, single-handedly kicking off the entire 'Anarcho-Crust' sub-genre (in opposition to the violent 'Oi!' sub-genre). They started off as military pogo, soon transformed into a military epic pop-punk anomaly, then quickly got bored with that silliness and concentrated on creating some of the most challenging, difficult, creative, and rewarding melodies I know I'll ever hear. Finally, they turned away from music all together..... BUT PUT OUT ANOTHER ALBUM ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crazy kids.

Reader Comments

punksnskins@rocketmail.com (Steve)
I must point out at this point that some people are english reading this and we CAN (at least most of the time) understand what Crass are singing....don't forget, we have a hard time understanding what you lot are saying too sometimes...


The Feeding Of The 5000: The Second Sitting - Crass 1980
Rating = 8


From the beginning, Crass was clearly not just another generic punk band. First of all, the band was founded by a 15-year-old punk rocker and a 35-year-old ex-art teacher. Secondly, there were TONS of lyrics - political, opinionated and blisteringly combative, as opposed to the anthemic singalongs that most second generation British punks were throwing around at the time (UK Subs, Chelsea, etc). And thirdly, the music was so crude, stilted, and (again) MILITARY that to compare it to the work of more musical punk outfits like The Clash and The Sex Pistols was impossible to do without concluding that it was a load of rubbish and the band a bunch of bloody tossers.

But that conclusion was WRONG. This was simply an entirely different form of punk rock. Punk as individuality. No, the guitar really doesn't play much more than scratchy hiss in any of the seventeen songs within, but why should it? The bass is playing plenty of great melodies ("They've Got A Bomb," "Securicor," "Punk Is Dead" - these are amazing pop songs, once you get past the outer trappings) and the crisp clattery drumlines provide hours of entertainment. And four lead vocalists???? One can hardly imagine why outdoing Three Dog Night might be deemed necessary, but dammit if somebody's gonna do it, it might as well be Crass. The only problem with this one is that, after the exciting first half, with its awesome Christ put-down "Asylum," the all-time Crass anthem "Do They Owe Us A Living?," and a whole slew of other speedy rockers, side two seems kinda sluggish. Not bad and definitely catchy most of the time, but just kinda slow. You know, like The Sex Pistols. So prepare yourself for that.

And for a laugh, see how many words you can say during the ridiculously lengthy and ill-placed silent break in the middle of "They've Got A Bomb." I once had a DJ friend who read an entire public service announcement over the air before the song came back in!

And for a second laugh, listen to the beginning of "Punk Is Dead," then quickly skip ahead to the last 15 seconds or so. Hear how much the song has sped up in just a couple of minutes? That's a drummer who can't keep time!

Reader Comments

rowan019@aol.com (Rachel Eakin)
okay, i enjoy punk rock. i enjoy the pistols, the clash, black flag, ramones, total choas, subhumans, etc etc etc, but when i heard "asylum" on the feeding, i was very pised of to say the least... okay, i know punk rock is not exactly about intelligence or respect, but blasphemy is just not cool in my book. its so sad to hear people say that dickhead shit about such an awesome Person,.. i know we all have our different beliefs about God and religion, but its not 'punk' to be talkin smack about smart, wonderful people... thanks

cb8@worldnet.att.ne
Why do I want to kick "Rowan 019" in the face? Some people just don't get IT!

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Ive got to comment about the above poster's comments about the person who claimed that a dis on Jesus is wrong. By saying that you want to kick him/her in the face and that s/he just doesn't "get it", you're being an elitist, exclusive, snotty asshole. I actually happen to agree with rowan019. Dissing religion is one of the last resorts of people who feel that because their life is empty and meaningless, everyone else must be stupid for believing in religion. It's a cop-out. I would not call myself religious, I don't go to church or read the bible, but I RESPECT it and it's history. Damn. I wish there weren't so many ignorant people out there today.

rotten@cruzers.com
I believe that people believe that religion is bad,for many reasons, one look at it is the strife it has caused.The Salem Witch trials and the crusades to name a few.Why have people died for something that is intangible and controlling?That is what Crass is talking about.It might not be the actual death or any event its the controlling nature of christianity,and also the dampening effect of it on intellectual freedom.Ignorance,no!It is also not a last resort to diss religion,it is a opinion, and that is the last thing seen in christianity.And in regards to its history,it is bloody and filled with contradiction.Another action to consider is what made Crass create blasphemy?

voodoo@lavalink.com.au (Kieran Doolan)
man this is one funny page! "dis" religion are you joking! christianity is and always has been a pitiful murder cult. where was jesus christ 10,000 years ago anyway? nowhere baby. people didn't have religion (or not not this crap as we know it today). they worshipped life, trees, air, dirt, love, sex, death, up, down, day, night, you name it. and why not? no fat rich popes. no rapist priests, no t.v. eveangelists, no t.v.

religion is NOT history fucko! it's just a lie to keep you down in the dirt and sucking shit. so is coke. so is mcdonalds. so is ally mcbeal. so is your new pair of nikes, so is your latest mp3

listen to people like crass, mdc, dead kennedys. get a life, fuck the father and the son and the holy spirit. amen.

00062056@mail.snow.edu
No seperation between Church and State is enough to piss anyone off. Eve is really talented at articulating just how pissed off it made her.

It doesn't matter that their idealism often coincided with that of Jesus, it's that it was forced down their throat and used as a scare tactic to keep people in line.

Add your thoughts?

Stations Of The Crass - Crass 1979.
Rating = 8


Okay, so they can actually play their instruments! Not that they play like virtuosos on here, but their ear for the perfect tone is astonishing. Three great studio sides at 45 RPM adjoined to one long concert side at 33 RPM that's only so-so, unfortunately. But those studio sides!!!! Man! Brisk fresh young punker paranoia fear sloth trash rock, with ringing double guitars, calculated fuzzy thump bass, more army drummin', and more monotonic shouting from the throat of Mr. Ignorant. Touchdown!

Yes, their political lyrics were very important to them - possibly even more important than the music. But, to me, the music is what makes this one such a stellar leap forward after the lo-fi fuzz noise on the first record. From the basic punk churn of "Mother Earth" (about Myra Hindley!) and "You've Got Big Hands" (which has some amazing background vocals that I really can't describe without bursting into tears of laughter and incomprehension, so you'll really have to hear 'em for yourself) to the genius air raid chime drone of "The Gasman Cometh" and "Tired," this crap just blows my twinkie all over the mantelpiece. The clarity is amazing, and the melodies, as simplistic and amateurish as they are, create an awfully powerful sense of hopelessness, anger, and, on occasion ("I Aint Thick, It's Just A Trick," "White Punks On Hope"), relaxed self-satisfaction. So real. So good. So what? The muddy live side is all that's keepin' this baby from a 9 or even higher. 13, for example.

Reader Comments

Wwgaeed@aol.com
I want to talk about Stations of the Crass, but first, I must say that after reading the comments on Feeding of the 5000 I, too, have a comment. If you don't like Crass or their views on religion, don't listen to them. Now can everyone shut up and talk about the music?

I am so glad to hear someone else praise Crass's music and not just their political doctrine. I have flirted with anarchism from time to time, but I must say, what gets me about this band is their raw, ruthless, pissed-as-hell sound. Steve Ignorant is the quintessenial punk vocalist. And I must say, the guitar/bass line on Heard Too Much About (that's the name of the song and not just the lyric, right? I don't have the album in front of me...) is fucking brilliant. Who thought anything so simple and mindless could sound so powerfully convincing. And you have to love the way Steve waits for that extra second or two to come in with the "heard too much about" the last time around. Brilliant. I haven't listened to this album in a while, but I used to practically have it on repeat. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back and give it another go. Thanks for reminding me about a great band.

armlesspete@hotmail.com (Robin Kempson)
crass are one of the golden oldies...proper views from a proper old ENGLISH band! musically, i liked the stuff i heard on their label too..rudimentary peni, flux of pink indians and wot not. the only thing that pisses me off about this album i s what sounds like his mum....! i dunno much about the band so i probably just made myself look stupid to all crass fans...but that woman is just annoying..i keep expecting - steve come in for your dinner now love...!

steve.robey@mindspring.com
My, Crass is a neat band! I'm particularly happy when listening to Stations of the Crass. But I too noticed a while ago that Penny Rimbaud plays the same drum pattern on this album 90% of the time. That "martial" (invented by martians) one that goes: do do DIT do do do DIT do do do DIT do do do DITDITDdididiidlidiLIT do DIT do do do DIT... etc. But that's my only problem with this record (and Rimbaud quickly learned some new tricks by the time of their next album and became quite an amazing drummer!). Well, that plus the sub-par live material. Otherwise, it's a classic! My favorite songs are: "Heard Too Much About" and "Chairman of the Bored" and "I Ain't Thick". And they definitely won my heart over with their poo-pooing of the Clash in "White Punks on Hope." The Clash: pretty good experimental rock band (London Calling and Combat Rock are good albums; those plus parts of Sandinista are all I can stomach hearing any more), but they were really just rock stars at heart - I hate when people call them a great punk band, cause they only did one punk album and it sucked! That's my unfashionable opinion of the day. Listen to Crass! And bring a lyric sheet, cause Steve Ignorant's hard to understand!

philip.rhoads@lineone.net
Interesting point you make about the live side of 'stations'. Yes, it is muddy sounding but is a great representation of the aural assault that was crass live. This is where the problem lies, crass live were not just about the aural but also the visual - not only the films behind them, but the pamphlets that were plentiful at the gigs but also the very sight of this disparate group of black clad group on stage passionately believing in what they sung and said. they were great and now, 25 years later i still remember those gigs and also the band as individuals as they were lovely people who always made us welcome at their home.

Add your thoughts?

Merry Crassmas 7" - Crass 1981
Rating = 8


When you think "Crass," you think "Good times" so that's why it came as no surprise when the world's favorite fun-loving black-clad vegetarian pacifist anarchist communist band put together a holly jolly Christmas record for all the little boys and girls in their Fanarchy Club. No band necessary, each side of this 10-minute release features a bouncy keyboard medley of Crass Classics (or 'Class Crassics,' if you're making fun of an Asian) interspersed with Christmas Carols o' connor. From what I understand, they actually held a contest daring people to name all the songs performed (2nd prize - an Exploited single; 3rd prize - 2 Exploited singles. HAR!). Were I to have competed, I would have entered the following list, as I feel it may be correct:

SIDE A: "Jingle Bells"; "Big A, Little A"; "Punk Is Dead"; "Big Hands"; "Contaminational Power"; "I Ain't Thick, It's Just A Trick"; "Big Man, Big M.A.N."
SIDE B: "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"; "Securicor"; "Darling"; "G's Song"; "Banned From The Roxy"; "Tired"; "So What"; "Do They Owe Us A Living?"; "Silent Night"

There might also be another song between "I Ain't Thick" and "Big Man"; I can't quite tell. But otherwise I'm pretty sure I'm 'on the money'!

As explained in The Day The Country Died: An Anarcho Punk History 1980-1984, the members of Crass didn't have a whole lot of fun in their day. They were under too much pressure (both internal and external) to live up to the lofty ideals espoused in their lyrics and literature. Steve Ignorant would take drugs in secret and feel absolutely terrible if anybody found out about it. Similarly, Penny Rimbaud was afraid to even take a vacation because of what a poor kid in the squats might think of such a hedonistic activity. After performances, while all the other bands were picking up girls, the Crassers would be stuck debating anarchy topics with geeky young men. Admittedly, they brought it on themselves in every way, but it's still kinda sad to read about.

As such, it's wonderful to know that they once released a 7" this playfully dopey and non-didactic. An instrumental Crass record?! Played on silly bouncy keyboards?! What would William Godwin think!? How would Pierre-Joseph Proudhon react!? Would Max Stirner approve!? Thanks, I found all those names on Wikipedia.

I've said this about Bob Dylan and I'll say it here about Crass: people who make statements like "It's all about Tha lyrics cuz yo they songs ain't too melodic yo" are so horrendously incorrect that I almost wonder if they're even aware of what 'melodic' means. Bob Dylan's songs are melodic as all hell; just listen to any instrumental covers of them you can find. Likewise - at least speaking for myself as a longtime Crass listener - I easily recognized every Crass song on this record after only two listens. They are HOOKY as DICK!

Well, my dick anyway. It hooks to the right. But my point is - if you're unable to hear the winning melodies in bouncy singalongs like "Punk Is Dead," "So What" and "I Ain't Thick, It's Just A Trick," it's time to find some new ears. These aren't punk songs; they're POP! Raw, rough and anarchist, but poppily so! Even their meaner, faster punk songs like "Big Hands," "Contaminational Power" and "Securicor" are terrifically hooky. And sure, the band would turn to more challenging and less instantly catchy material later, but the riffs on their first two albums lent themselves perfectly to an instrumental novelty record like this. Find a downloadable copy and hear for yourself!

In conclusion, I applaud Crass for having the gumption to say "Fuck it" for once in their career and put out an entirely unpolitical goof record. "And if you're munching on your delicious turkey at the moment, I HOPE IT FUCKING CHOKES YOU!"

Reader Comments

spiring@comhem.se
This is not the only "fun" Crass had back in those days, though... the "Whodunnit?" single is another single without ordinary Crass songs, just the band having a laugh at Maggie. And the wedding flexi prank, as described in the liner notes to "Best before" (I think), was quite funny.

durandal1717@gmail.com
I was actually just about to email you to tell you of the two obscure Crass 7"s that I'm sure you'd make good reviews out of. And you did you magnificent bastard, you did. Though I think I might be claiming the bathsalts - looks like the song between I Ain't Thick and Big Man is Shaved Women (it even has a little keyboard trill for "screaming babies"). But I had completely missed Do They Owe Us A Living; I just thought it was the fast part of So What. I wonder if you'll move on to even more Crass Records things now...

Add your thoughts?

Penis Envy - Crass 1981.
Rating = 7


I originally only gave this album a five, but I recently picked it up in an HMV $2.50 bin and realized that I hadn't given it enough of a chance. It's got some very catchy political pop-type tunes and some neat noise stuff too. I could do without the middle section but it starts and ends very strong. Pick it up if you dig women! Now here's my original review that got me lots of hatemail because nobody realized I was joking.

Now, I realize that Crass were artists who cared deeply about their political beliefs; that's obvious by the care they took in including lyric sheets, photo collages, posters, and assorted other anarchist propaganda with every record they released. Still, as appropriate as it was for them to allow the female vocalists (Joy de Vivre and Eve Libertine) an entire album of their own in which to explore the issues of sexual politics and gender discrimination, Penis Envy is still boring as hell.

But that's just me talkin' - and I'm a man. ALL man, thank you. The deal is - I don't really like either of these broads' voices (I miss Steve Ignorant! Pete Wright, too!) and most of the music is dippy bouncy pop music. Messy pop music, sure (this is, after all, Crass we're talking about here), but generic pop music nonetheless. Oh, it has its moments, yeah; in particular, "Poison In A Pretty Pill" is an amazingly hard-to-grasp song that eagerly points its nose towards challenging Crass future. Unfortunately, inspiring numbers like this one are few and far between on this dispensable little release. If you're a woman, you might wanna give it a whirl, though. Who knows? Might even change your life....

Reader Comments

JKANDELL@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU (Jonathon Kandell)
Totally disagree, man. Penis Envy is their best album, and one of the overlooked albums of the 80s. How many punk feminist works match it? Eve Libertine's voice--her anger--is stunning. "I've got 54321, I've got a pair of high-heels on. Double me over, it doesn't take much, double me over show me the floor...." Whoa! "The true romance is the ideal repression...." Great stuff!

chunli@exit109.com (Brookelyn)
Eve Libertine definitely has a sexy voice and she proves it on Penis Envy!! Crass as a whole are the successors of the punk movement. They weren't just another non-talented punk band. It was about verbalizing their facts not making music. Every true punk should envy this chaotic crew!!

chris@intown.net (Chris Schwarz)
To the person up above:

What the?! "Eve Libertine has a sexy voice"?! Is that the only thing you can draw from this album? I mean, the whole album more or less rallies against sexism and sexual objectification of women and the only thing you can deduce is that "Eve Libertine has a sexy voice"?! C'mon! What about her lyrics? What about the validity of her arguments? What about the inaudible onslaught and incredibly angry barrage of female anger and rejection of society's treatment towards women? Forget about Eve's "sexy voice"! Her sharp, vicious verbosity and her willingness to stand up to the bullshit treatment of women are what make this album so intense and so overwhelming! This record is so militaristic, so focused, that just listening to it makes me feel ashamed to be a male. This record makes me cover my gonads for fear of losing them to some unseen Eve entity that's about to come out of the speaker and castrate me. And I think that's exactly the reaction that Crass (or just Eve Libertine) was striving for.

mef3211@erols.com (Mark Ferron)
what the fuck is in your head? "allow" them? "ALLOW" them? Eve Libertine and Joy de Vivre WERE an integral part of Crass. They didn't need permission from someone with a penis to make an album. "ALL man." I bet you are, motherfucker. You manly man, you. "broads"? I bet you're real fucking proud of your cock. With comments like these, I seriously doubt that you understand what Crass were all about. "We were concerned with ideas, not rock and roll." -Crass, Yes Sir, I Will

You sound like the kind of prick that could make me into a violent person. And you don't have to be a woman to appreciate this. I'm male and I think that this is one of my favorite albums.

Eve Libertine has more "balls" (guts) than you will ever have. She was, and still is, an extraordinary and admirable person.

JonnyMotel@aol.com
Youre right man. This album is trash. Im suprised you gave it that many albums. Yeah, real sexy voice. A BRITTISH woman who takes whining to another level. Lordy. Well, you're right that the ladies should pick it up cause it may change their life, god forbid. Anyway, for those of you who havent heard this "lp", go back 2 steps and get the first 2. I made the mistake of getting Penis Envy first and I hated crass for years. But, Im sure someone finds this beautiful. God love ya.

Vaaaal@cs.com
I must disagree with your review of Penis Envy, it is one of my chosen few that I have bothered to get on both CD and cassette (remember those?). This was the first Crass album I heard and I was hooked. Some may say its my favorite because I'm a woman and I'm bitter. Yes, the lyrics are dead on ("Clip my wings so you know where I am, I can't get lost while you're my man" - unfortunately I know women who honestly feel that way!), but I thoroughly enjoyed it before I knew what they were saying. By the way does anyone know the title of the last song on the CD, or is it the end of "Dry Weather"? It's the one with the churchbells ("All I am I give to you, you honor me I obey you") and if I ever get married I think it would be a hoot to have it played.

sleeve@efn.org (Steve Bouton)
The last song on the record is called "Our Wedding". It was released as a flexi-disc in a bridal magazine as a prank. You can read more about that on the "Best Before..." comp. That aside, this is the record that changed my life forever and my favorite Crass album by far.

d yeah, I'm a guy. Come ON, folks! "Where Next Columbus?" is a lyrical and musical peak, "What The Fuck?" scares me every time I hear it, and "Smother Love" is the best critique of relationship dysfunction I've ever heard. An amazing LP that a lot of people have a hard time absorbing.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
This album is Crass's most focused statement as well as their most distinctive album musically. Perhaps, as a result, it's one that polarizes fans the most. Some say it's their best, some say it's their worst. Challenging the sexual values of a society that is still very male-dominated is a hard thing for most people, even the most liberal thinkers among us, to swallow. And that just may be the point of Libertine's concept here. Powerful stuff, and extremely important, even (especially?) 20 years later. Musically, the songs stretch out a bit, adding a bit more musical development and texture into the songs that wasn't even hinted at on the first two albums. In addition to Eve Libertine's lyrics, her vocalizing (I can't really call it singing) is also strong and effective. I can't say it's my favorite Crass album - I actually like all of the original albums equally (though I don't have Feeding of the 5000 yet, but I've prob heard most of the tunes in live versions), for very different reasons. I recommend Penis Envy very highly to people coming in from a more avant/progressive direction rather than punk direction.

tom_chipman@msn.com
The most ironic thing about this album, is that I find myself mainly playing it if I'm in an extremely bad mood and want to get my aggressions out...typically those against women!!! Almost parallel to a girl in a surly mood, listening to "Ride the Lightning" or "Back in Black" and spinning it around in their mind to be about their boyfriend they're not getting along with.

Obviously women had careers and college degrees before this record came out, and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is a better feminist song anyway, if that's what you want (but Mick Jagger sang backing vocals....oh yeah but Crass had males in the band too....what anarchy!!!)

All bullshit aside, Penis Envy is the only and greatest album of its kind...nothing else sounds like it...besides my wife bitching at me for quietly drinking cocktails while keeping to myself...so loud that the neighbors think it's a domestic incident. Christ the Album is my favorite though, maybe 'cause by default I'm a guy, and it's their most musical one.

3dsunglasses@gmail.com
I read the "Official Mark Prindle Music Reviews Site" Music Review by Mark Prindle of the album Penis Envy by Crass and decided to inform Mark Prindle, Official Writer for "Official Mark Prindle Music Reviews Site" that this album deserves an 8/10, and only because What The Fuck and Health Surface have their weak points. But overall, it is a really atmospheric and immersive album, I'd go so far to say like my bloody valentine.

I expected more from "Official Mark Prindle Music Reviews Site"!

Add your thoughts?

You'll Ruin It For Everyone - Pomona 1993.
Rating = 6


If you want a Crass live album, go buy Stations Of The Crass or Christ; both of those fine studio releases offer up a good 40 minutes of concert material if that's what you're into. Me, I dig the "produced" vibe, myself, but you go do what you want to do. This one has lots of lousily-recorded versions of terrific Crassongs, augmented by numerous band cries of "Stop fighting! Stop fighting!" (Actually, it's more like "Sto' foy'in!," but why knock the British any more than they've already knocked themselves?). This record is for collectors only. That's why I have it!!!!! Oh, and this one also makes it painfully clear that the later "difficult" Crass songs weren't exactly designed for live performance. If you can't make out the complex structure, it just sounds like a bunch of ugly noise. Screw it. And screw you, President Reagan!

Add your thoughts?

Christ-The Album - Crass 1982.
Rating = 8


One small step for Crass; one giant leap for Abraham Lincoln. The weak-kneed bastards of the earth might call this one "unlistenable," but I'm tougher, smarter, and American, and I, like Crass way back in '82, have realized that if you play anything - anything at all, mind you!!! - enough times in a row, it becomes a melody. That's the idea of this record, and more power to it.

Say all you want about how Hootie makes you feel good with his generic three-chord happy pappy, and how the Smashing Pumpkins really get you going with their third-rate '70s arena rock imitation, but I'll just shake my head, point at this album, and mutter, "My kind sir or madam, you know nothing of art." Until you package an album of assorted rock-esque guitar destruction with another album of live tapes, early demos, and ancient Chinese poetry, throw in a really huge Dead Kennedys-esque collage poster and lengthy booklet of lyrics and political propaganda, and sell it in a big black box with nothing but your band's swastika-lookin' symbol on the cover, you, sir or madam, know jack poop about art.

This is a beautiful, ugly record full of love, hate, fear, mistrust, and oodles o' cussin'. There's still a little punk ("Rival Tribal Revel Rebel") and a few songs with easy-to-follow pop riffage ("Have A Nice Day"), but the majority of the new studio tracks are of an entirely different breed altogether - a Chihuahua, for example. Just jagged, forced, overly stiffly-rhythmic bursts of carefully-orchestrated repetitive electric racket. And I, for one, dig it!!! This is an entirely unique sound. NOBODY has ever tried to sound like this, before or since. Nobody but Crass. You might hate it, but you certainly owe it a listen. It beats that beat-free Japanese noise crap any ol' day, probably, although I have not a lick of experience with said media form and would thus be much better off keeping my goddamn opinions shoved down my fucking windpipe. So why an 8? Well, 'cuz a couple of times, right in the middle of a song, it suddenly really begins to seem like the band is making it up as they go. And how impressive can that be? Unless you like that jazz crap. Also, the live stuff, as always, is a bit iffy. Too bad.

Reader Comments

mef3211@erols.com (Mark Ferron)
Making stuff up as you go IS impressive, ya doofus. and yes, I do like free-form jazz.

HOLD EVERYTHING! "swastika-lookin'"? The Crass logo doesn't even remotely resemble a swastika. Do you know what the symbol means are where it came from? And what's so fucking cool about something looking like a swastika?

MikeSk8er@aol.com
U STOOPID OR SOMETHING??? i dont see is wastika or anything close to one. it was desigend for a book that crass wrote and its a crossed out cross, meaning religions suck. cuz crass ddint belive in religions they were anti-religion. u can find more shit at www.southern.com

jdecuir@satx.rr.com (Uncle Buzz Records)
Christ - The Album gets 10 out of 10, for 10 reasons:

1. The symbol in question appears to be a dual headed serpent wrapped around a cross...see their cute little mouths?
2. I LOVE Crass, but I probably wouldn't invite them to a party.
3. "Do They Owe Us a Living" is THE song to listen to on the way to work.
4. When Crass challenge my political / social / philosophical beliefs, sometimes they change my mind & sometimes they only solidifiy my contrary opinion. Either way, they make me think.
5. Oh yeah.......These guys are funny as ( bloody fuckin' ) shit ! I mean, ANY band that are this "serious"....
6. Cockney accents are cute.
7. What a cool drummer.
8. What yummy guitar frequencies. Along with Andy Gill, Phil Free was totally unique in his (mis)use of the instrument. Did you know you can download Crass guitar tabs online? I think that's pretty funny.
9. They rail against sellouts ! Their catalogue is now available on Caroline records !
10. Some of the best pseudonyms ( Steve Ignorant, Eve Liberatine, Joy De Vivre, Phil Free, Penny Rimbaud, G. Suss ) and album covers in the history of (c)rock.

dead-beat@socal.rr.com (Taeil Kim)
My favorite CRASS album. Fuck it one of the top three on my list. They're amazing, Steve Ignorant can rhyme better than most rappers and Rimbaud must have the unique drumming style of all time.

Politically cool. But musically, they were years ahead and just underrated. Besides, Christ might be the most unpretentious concept album, ever.

JOHNMARSLAND@peoplepc.com
It can't be helped but to be said this is the best Crass record they ever made. Quite possibly the best record ever! Of any genre. Once you get past the gruff of the first 4 albums it all comes together in this one. Other bands would have to die first to write something this good.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
You've Got Big Albums! It's fookin' 'UGE! And it's got neat little soundbite links between each of the songs (transcribed in the lyric sheet, in case you would have otherwise missed 'em). Even the live disc is pretty fookin' RAD because it uses the lo-fi element to its advantage by applying a cut-and-paste-sound-collage motif to tie the performances together, even including some found-sound field recordings. Hey - what does "found sound" really mean, anyway? I've read more music reviews in my life than I've had hot dinners, and that phrase poops up a lot. Is someone pulling the cushions off the couch, looking down, and discovering some sound that had been missing? "Hey! Look at this sound I found! I've been looking for that!" In conclusion, this album is as fantastic as all of their other albums - and if you get uncomfortable when chicks start singing, well, you're in luck! Nothing but Ignorant, all the way. Hold that thought - there's a few Eve songs on the live disc. Never mind. You should be listening to what she has to say anyway! Let's listen in, shall we?

HELLO HERO!
HERO HELLO!
HELLO HERO!
HELLO HELLO!

Let's come back later when "Berkertex Bribe" comes on. And let's give this a 9/10.

Add your thoughts?

Who Dunnit? 7" - Crass 1983
Rating = 7


I realize that a few of you didn't come to this page to read about dog gas, but man alive has Henry The World's Finest Dog had some intestinal difficulties the past couple days. I'm pretty sure it's because he ate a pile of human poop in Central Park a few nights ago, but who knows. The bottom line is that two nights ago, he woke me from my slumber six (SIX!!!!) different times to unleash a torrential downpour of direpoopies into our bathtub. Not content to reek up the joint with liquids alone, he's also been passing a steady stream of noxious rear-fuel to alert me of his presence. At one point last night as I lay on the couch struggling against Restless Leg Syndrome (it happens a lot on Tae Kwon Do nights - drives me NUTS!), I heard a little 'pffft' come from the direction of Henry's Chair, then heard him hop off the chair and drag out like a 10-second toot (i.e. 'ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft') as he walked past me and went to lie down at the end of the hall. Come on man, nobody needs 10-second dog toots! Then later he of course took a dump in the tub again. Poor direpoopy-suffering little man. He's probably at home right now filling the entire bathroom with Smell Juice. It's almost enough to make a guy wonder, "Who put the 'Turd' in 'Custard'? Who put the Shit in Number 10?"

Which coincidentally would make a fantastic segue into a discussion of Crass's 1983 Who Dunnit? single. Letting their hairs down (well, not Phil Free because he was already BALD AS SHIT) once again, Crass herein presents a hilarious two-sided pub gin boisterous drinking song/attack on Margaret Thatcher. NOTE TO (D)AM(N)ERICANS: Number 10 Dowling Street is the Prime Minister's address. And it's not that six minutes of a scatalogical singalong is inherently entertaining; it's the way Crass presents it that makes it so much fun. It begins with just ambient street noises -- birds chirping, people chit-chatting and a guy whistling. Then slowly a little crowd starts singing "Who put the 'Turd' in 'Custard'? Who put the Shit in Number 10?" Then before you know it, a piano has joined in, then some drums, then even MORE people singing, and by the time you're on side two, there's a horn section and a tap dance solo and thickly-accented jokesters spouting out riddles on top of the din (ex. "What's the difference between a cactus and a House of Parliament? A cactus has its pricks on the outside!") before it all comes crashing down in a hail of bullets and sound effects. Hilarious! Repetitive and oft-indecipheral, but hilarious none-the-same!

Plus, it's more political than you'd initially suspect. Near the end of side one, a couple of louts harass a prim British woman who may be (a band member portraying) Thatcher herself for all I know - I can't understand a word they're saying! They sneak in occasional pointed lyric changes as well, including "We know who put the Brits in Belfast...." Say! YOU'RE British. Could you tell me what the heck they're saying half the time? I can't even make out the first part of the riddle that ends "The Union Jack doesn't have any brown stripes on it!" I'm assuming it's a poop joke of course, but which poop joke? And how can I get involved?

Though hardly the crowning jewel in Crass's anarcho-punk catalog, Who Dunnit? is nevertheless a must-hear for any fan of the band who also appreciates musical humor. Quite frankly, I'd probably give it an 8 if I could understand all the NONSENSE and HORSE-GO-ROUND they're tossing out in their Cockney Geordie Scouser Kettering Received Pronunciation Estuary English accents.

Reader Comments

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
Q: What's the difference between a pair of Margaret Thatcher's knickers and the Union Jack?
A: The Union Jack doesn't have any brown stripes on it!

Also, I could be wrong but I think the lyric is "Birds put the 'turd' in 'custard.'"

Add your thoughts?

Yes Sir, I Will - Crass 1983.
Rating = 5


I admire them for having the bile and persistence to actually go through with the recording of this record, but that doesn't mean I'm ever going to listen to it again. You see, it's just a bunch of noise. Like, a full hour of noise. Rhythmic noise, sure, and occasionally the bass player will run across a little lick he enjoys, and hey, there are a full TWO actual songs right near the beginning, but basically, the point of this record was to make a political and social statement against the Falklands War and for... well, Crass. Again, I LOVE the idea. It's hilarious. The words are what's important, so why bother writing melodies??? But there's a problem: sure, it's real chaotic and angry and noisy and free... but after about twenty minutes, it just gets really BORING.

So, with music not a factor, we're left with lyrics. And how are the lyrics? Well, they're great, except for the abundance of self-congratulatory back-patting shit right at the beginning ("Critics say that it's just punk rock or that we're just naive anarchists. They hope to discredit us with their labels and definitions. Throughout history societies have condemned those who are later celebrated as heroes.".... ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!!!). If you wanna buy it, go ahead, but don't say I didn't warn you. I'll give 'em this: if the Sex Pistols were actually, as they so often claimed, trying to put an end to rock and roll, they would have released THIS record. And it just might have done the trick. Instead, of course, they chose to simply combine the fuzz of the Ramones, the swagger of the New York Dolls, and the irreverence of the Fugs.

And create a great album!

Reader Comments

mef3211@erols.com (Mark Ferron)
Finally...Crass have forced you to look at the LYRICS. Crass was not about music (though it is good). As for your "self-congratulatory" remark: Crass accomplished more than you or I ever will. What they said was not as self-important as what you seem to think, anyway. What Eve was saying was not even a direct reference to Crass. It is also to be taken as a general statement.

harold.briggs@sympatico.ca
I'd just like to say THIS ALBUM SUCKS! This is the first crass record I bought. I heard some of their stuff from feeding of the 5000 and I liked it, so when I saw this vinal for ten bucks I thought I was making a good investment-WRONG! this is just noise with people talking their political views in the background. There's one track that is almost a song and it's not bad, but it just reminds me that they probably could've made a decent music album if they put a shred of effort into this peice of shit. I want my money back!!!

com.bom@ntlworld.com
yes sir i will sucked bigtime, everything else crass released 12" and 7" was great, i agree with crass politics too and am happy i have seen steve ignirent live with penny rimbaud in the audiance! Crass gave so many other small bands the push they needed too! Thankyou crass for everything (except yes sir lol)

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Ever read a review of the "Plastic Ono Band" album by John Lennon? Such a review usually goes off on how "cathartic" it is, with "raw, noisy" music backing "naked, emotional" lyrics sung in a "harrowing" manner. That pretty much sums up this Crass album. So if you like John Lennon's solo career (especially "Whatever Gets You Through the Night"), you're sure to love this little 45 minute ditty in seven parts. Crass's masterfuckpiece, "Yes Sir, I Will Stop Shouting Once I've Finished All 25 Pages of These Lyrics", closely parallels Lennon's album in that it features one man and two women taking turns (and yes, they do take turns, almost to a fault - this band was certainly about fairness and sharing) shouting at the top of their lungs about social and economic oppression, THE FALKLANDS WAR (god, did that war piss a lot of people off!), and people who don't understand why Crass does what they do. And the music! Very Lennon-esque - roaring guitars in no discernible key, drums and bass occasionally but rarely hitting any sort of groove, and did I mention shouting?

Sorry about the Lennon comparison - that was just a bit of sarcasm on my part. But the word "Catharsis" came immediately to mind when considering this album, and I know that same word has been used to describe albums like Lennon's. So I'll leave it at that. "Yes Sir, I Will" is both very impressive and very disappointing. The scope of issues attacked by the lyrics (and 25 pages was only a very small exaggeration) is phenomenal, but it feels more like stream of consciousness ranting than a cohesive argument. Similarly, the music is a sustained, extended tour-de-force cut into multiple lengthy sections - impressive on paper, anyway. What you actually hear, however, is a fairly non-descript random noise jam where the "sections" are little more than track numbers. The exception is the nice little piano piece (track 2) that makes you wish there were more jarring moments of clarity like this later on in the album. No such luck though. By the last track (20 minutes!) you just want it to end. Be sure to read the rest of the lyrics though, and put on a nice John Lennon album and go to bed.

3dsunglasses@gmail.com
I completely disagree with your review of yes sir, i will by crass. this album gets so much shit so i download it to see what all the fuss is. and you know what? its an amazing album. i thought aus-rotten's "and now back to our programming" was good but this shit kills that album. maybe its cause im into noise or something, but this is probably my favorite crass album.

Add your thoughts?

Christ-The Bootleg - Allied 1996.
Rating = 5


This was a sweet idea, Allied Records releasing this live document from the 1984 final Crass tour for only $5.00 so that young punker kids can inexpensively hear what this "legendary" British hardcore group sounded like. Nice idea, yeah, but since the album is a muddy, incomprehensible recording of late-period noise tracks, all it's gonna do is make a bunch of young punker kids think that Crass had no clue what they were doing! Heck, I KNOW these songs and I can hardly tell what's going on. Like most live Crass, best to just skip it.
Reader Comments

DK9711@aol.com
You're right man, i got this before listening to other crass, and i thought they were drunk, and their music sounded drunk, the feedback gets a little busy MOST of the time.

chris@intown.net (Chris Schwarz)
YUCK! For $5 measly stinkin' dollars, it seems impossible or even wrong to complain about the sound quality of this live recording ... but I'm going to do it anyway! What the crap is this?! I think that the reason Crass released this is because initially it was a shitty bootleg that asshole rip-off merchants were charging ridiculously inflated amounts of money for, and getting away with it. So, to put a stop to it, Crass decided to release this shitty bootleg officially, charge $5.00 for it, and rip us off instead! Actually, $5.00 isn't a whole lotta milka so I really shouldn't gripe about the price because it's decent and affordable. Like I said, the problem is the production, which is just nasty! Every song is jumbled and practically indistinguishable and that sucks, because these songs are really good and deserve to be heard, especially live. It's good that a lot of people get the chance to hear Crass for the first time or at an affordable price with this CD, but is this what Crass wanted people to hear? Surely there exists a better live audio recording of Crass than this! In any case, this album's something to snatch up simply because of the low price, but it sure as hell isn't an enjoyable listen!

marcpan@tin.it (Marco Pandin)
i was there. i was in nottingham uk that night, may 4.th 1984, and i plugged my walkman into the mixer desk with the kind permission of the musicians, who were d&v, annie anxiety, flux and crass. they were good friends of mine, some of them still are. i used to run a very small indie record company then, and released a box of three tapes with these recordings (the crass gig was incomplete due to tape timing), as a benefit initiative in support of a/rivista anarchica (an italian anarchopacifist monthly magazine). one day i get a letter from some john in california usa, who wants to get some of my own releases. he runs an indie distribution center (the name was "blacklist mailorder" or something like that), and sends a huge list of titles and an introductory letter by jello biafra. this man wants me to swap stuff. i call him one day, and we get to an agreement: i send him a packet with 300$ worth of records and tapes, and my list of picks from his catalog. needless to say john's packet never reached this side of the atlantic ocean. i left some messages on his ansaphone, but i never got a reply. well, one day phil free calls me asking why did i sell the nottingham recordings. he says someone in california put out a bootleg. i suddenly remember john "blacklist". i believe those at d.i.y. and allied made big money with this bootleg: did they ever send a donation to dial house? i am going to release the complete crass gig on 2cds next year, on the 20.th anniversary of that gig. check a/rivista anarchica online at http:www.anarca-bolo.ch/a-rivista for details, or write. (marco pandin, italy)

mrtrixe12uk@hotmail.com
Thank you Mark for your info, I wont be buying Christ The Bootleg. I am a long term Crass head from around 1978. I still remember catching a 123 bus back to Ilford from Small Wonder Records in Walthamstow, London, clutching a mint copy of Feeding of the 5000, in a Small Wonder brown paper bag! After some bloody dull ‘pop’ punk bands that we were forced to listen to at the time, I now had in my hands the real deal! Yup Pete Stennet at Small Wonder had finally done it, after a string of good 7”s on the label he had finally cracked it by releasing 5000, albeit without Reality Asylum (just 3 minutes of no sound). Things were looking up for us, Punk was never to be the same again, Punk is dead! It just became a way of life. Crass have been part of my life ever since. I am 40 now and I am collecting all my punk stuff back on CD (don’t have a turntable). So once again thanks for the info Mark.

Add your thoughts?

* Best Before - Crass 1986. *
Rating = 10


Definitely your best bet, this double-album compilation of singles spanning the entire Crass reign of terror ('77-'84) does a spectacular job of making it clear just how bright, talented, and experimental this little collective of musical incompetents really was. From the rudimentary peni of "Do They Owe Us A Living" and "Major General Despair" through the fully-developed vaginal cavities of "Shaved Women" and "Bloody Revolutions" right on out the blasphemously chaotic buttpipe of "Gotcha," "Don't Get Caught," and all them other quasi-songs they were crankin' out during their anti-rock years, this tripe is headspinning. So well-thought-out that, even at its stupidest ("Nagasaki Nightmare?"), it's still mindbogglingly memorable and clap-inducing, especially if you rub your love pipe all over it for six or seven hours 'til it gets all scuffed and bloody.

And yes, I forgive you if you're just not sure what to do with side two. So here's what you do: put on your walkman, hold the lyrics sheet in your hand, follow along and pay very close attention to what the band is doing. I promise you that, lo and behold, you'll discover repetition in the mix. All of a sudden, these little bursts of moronic racket will appear as actual SONGS, and you will find yourself tapping your foot and singing, "We gotcha, gotcha, gotcha! We gotcha, gotcha, gotcha!!!!" until the cows come home if only for a brief visit. Honestly. They ARE songs. They just don't sound like songs because they're so very unlike traditional rock and roll. But that was the whole point of Crass and, in fact, the concept of "punk rock" as they understood it. Why just grow a mohawk and imitate The Clash? What's the point? Try something new! Then, whether it sells or not, at least it's YOURS. And you can claim it forever and ever and ever. Trust me, if there are any Crass rip-off bands out there, you would recognize them INSTANTLY. And you'd say, "Hey, Flux of Pink Indians."

Reader Comments

mef3211@erols.com (Mark Ferron)
"Nagasaki Nightmare": you think that it is stupid to write a song about an atomic bomb being dropped on a crowded metropolis?

davelang@melbpc.org.au (David)
What a bunch of boring, talentless, humourless arseholes. If I want to know about anarchism, I'll read a book. CRASS can cry fould re: the Sex Pistols til the cows come home, I'd still rather listen to ...Bollocks than any of their drivel.

emrobert@mail.e-mg.co-za
Hmmmm.

This Mark Ferron chap sounds like an exceedingly disturbed young man with a bee in his bonnet to boot. Mark ole pal, this site was (hopefully) created for people to give their opinions on the RECORD being reviewed, not the REVIEWER. So, my short-sighted mate, stop your fuckin' whining and get your head out of your pseudo-intellectual liberal minded ass and lighten up. There I go again, doing exactly what I tell other people not to. Dumbass.

xander@hotmail.com (Xander Ross)
Hey man. Really dig your record reviews page. Here's something that's semi-Crass-related for you: I live in a small town town and don't get to hear a whole lot of non-mainstream music, but I happened to be in Pittsburgh, PA (the nearest big city) one weekend, checking out the local punk scene, and I heard from everyone I talked to that I should go to this club to see The Stratford Mercenaries, who were from England. So I went to the club, and after I got there, I found out from someone that this band was, in fact, Steve Ignorant's new band. I was ecstatic--I actually got to see and hear Steve Ignorant performing live. Most of the set was made up of Crass songs, so it was a great show. I've heard that Crass weren't very good live, but the stuff I heard here was excellent--they played "Big A, Little A," "Major General Despair," and a few other Crass songs, plus some of their own. Anyway, I'm sure I've bored everyone enough. My basic point is: if you're into Crass, and you happen to see any flyers or anything saying that The Stratford Mercenaries are playing a club in your hometown, definitely check them out--you won't be disappointed.

JonnyMotel@aol.com (Clay)
Say, Im sure yr tired of getting emails regarding this stuff, but I just wanna tell you a few things. I think your ideas on most music, (Ive only read about 1/3 of all these reviews) is right on. I think a lot of people take it real personal when anything is said cynically about their band. For instance,mef3211@erols.com (Mark Ferron), this man from what I can tell, wrote a mean note after almost every review of Crass you gave. This kind of guy just views crass as some sort of godsend and "above us" kind of band when in the liner notes of best before 1984, the band says what they did was a waste of time or something to that nature. I think you have a respect of Crass and many many other bands, but some people just cant take criticism. Its strange because I stumbled across your page and I can spend hours in here since 95% of every band you have listed is a favorite of mine. Sabbath, Crass, etc, you have great taste in music and I think thats why you review records like you do. You love music but you (we?) cant take EVERYTHING seriously. I mean, these artists are people neverthless and everything they do doesnt always equal gold.

Well, sorry if I wasted your time but I just wanted to say hello and comment on some things. Take care and sorry if I send you more emails regarding the reviews on different bands! If its a problem, just let me know! ha ha! See ya.

FatSkanka@aol.com
hey, i know if this message gets up on the page ill get alot of ''fuck you's'' from people with way too much free time, but ill go ahead and say it anyway. When i first got into crass i tended to agree with everything they said, mostly because they seemed to feel so strongly about it. Recently though i took time to really analyze some of the songs, including the infamous ''reality assylum'', and realized what they are saying is complete bullshit. They claim to be so ardently 'anti-religion', but what do they think they're doing? They openly bash the bible for telling people what to do, but almost every one of thier songs puts someone's way of life down, or tries to tell them how to live. The message is, If you dont dress in all black, dont hate everyone who's outside your circle of anarchist thought, eat meat, listen to the 'wrong' kind of punk music, and aren't pro-gay, pro-woman, and pro-choice, you're nothing but a festering pool of bile. Isnt such a set of laws and rituals a religion? And what about all these people who wrote in, seemingly willing to defend the diety crass to the death, just because a reviewer didnt find them as holy as they did? Remeber, using loaded political words and gruff voices doesnt automatically make you intelligent.

InMyEyes82@aol.com
I completely agree with the above poster. My friend (who is a female) loaned me a couple Crass CDs and I was excited because I had heard alot about them, that they were really political (and I love DK). As soon as I popped it in, I was completely and utterly REPULSED, so much that I cringe upon hearing the band's name. Okay, this band was what was wrong with punk. What could have been a positive, revolutionary social movement in fact turned into a contest of how close one could paint themselves into a corner. Let's see, what does Crass bash in their songs? Well you've got religion, marriage, love, politicians, the working class, men, women, the Clash, Patti Smith, even other punk groups. Reading their lyrics is like listening to a David Duke rally, except what they are saying is the exact opposite. It's the same because, no matter what you talk about, convective is convective, and a policy of hating everything else that is unlike you and your morals is just as bad as the KKK or the Black Panthers. And to top all that off, their music blows.

res046pm@gte.net
What the fuck is your problem? Dont u understand how anti-god/religion crass is? phrases as "god help ya" and "Lordy" arent ur typical Crass fans. Your just another fucking nazi fascist. Some of my favorite crass bands are bands promoting female equality. Im not a female, im a male who can admit the truth. Everyone else is right here except you. I agree with chun li and chris because she can have a good voice and her lyrics are awesome. She does have more balls then your piece of shit Christ ever had.

WBinder007@aol.com (Warren Binder)
Wow. After reading Zach English's "post," I can honestly say I haven't laughed so hard in quite some time. Where to begin, where to begin...

Crass was not what was wrong with punk. What was, and still is wrong with punk is the fans who blindly pledge allegiance to a closed definition of what "punk" actually means. The people who think punk is about a look, or a specific musical style. The people who don't realize that something can be punk in attitude but not necessarily musically. The people who don't realize that punk existed before the Sex Pistols. (Really, the Anglophiles are more to blame in this category than us Yanks.)

Basically, fans of the Exploited.

And if I may quote:

"Reading their lyrics is like listening to a David Duke rally, except what they are saying is the exact opposite."

Reading your post is like reading the words of a Nazi, except what you are saying is the exact opposite. Does that make any sense? OF COURSE NOT. That may have been the most ridiculous argument I have ever witnessed. Also, everything you listed that Crass hated has drawbacks severe enough to make a case for their deserving hatred.

And you forgot to mention what Crass advocated: peace and freedom.

What the fuck?! Peace and freedom?! Those fucking assholes, how fucking dare they!

If you really want to lay into a band deserving of the abuse, go take it out on Skrewdriver. Crass weren't all that bad. Sure, they were fairly closed minded, but I'll take someone who dismissed a lot in the name of peace and freedom over someone who dismisses a lot in the name of racism any day of the week.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
I've seen some pretty interesting issues raised in the last few posts concerning this Crass album. Like, for example, if you're all about equality, personal freedom, and overthrowing oppression, and you put down some fascist leader (for simplicity's sake, let's call him "Margaret") for being an oppressive wanker, does that make you equally guilty by imposing your own views on the poor, innocent fascist? I'm all for moral relativism, but it's funny how that view just doesn't fly in the rock and roll world, which has traditionally championed the underdog, the downtrodden, the pimply, and the horny. Who can "Margaret" turn to in the music world to validate his fascist leanings, his power cravings, and his racial hatred? Who out there will champion the OVERDOG?

Thoughts like these are why it took me so long to get a job after college. Philosophy majors! Whaddaya do with em? I wasn't even sure I existed until 1995. Anyway, "Best Before...1984" by Crass is the way to go if you want to get into this band. Each of the individual albums is great, but none of them hint at the fact that Crass was, unbelievably, a GREAT singles band! These are all non-album tracks, and each of them distills an entire album's worth of ideas into one compact song. As great as their albums were as concept pieces, their best SONGS were released as singles. And they're all here in one easy to digest, fascist-free package.

Lewybailey@aol.com
The 1980 single "Bloody Revolutions" is without doubt the greatest song Crass ever did. Lyrically brilliant, it has everything even down to the instantly recognisable art work. 10/10.

nineinchgoth@hotmail.com
I don't see why everyone views Crass as a punk band. If I remember correctly, they announced "Punk Is Dead" back in '78. If anything, I think Crass is the perfect post-punk band: taking the political stance and confrontational attitude of punk while producing music that more often than not sounds not a bit like punk. The simple fact that Crass was included in the Nurse With Wound list should point out they were always more an experimental band than a punk band. Listen to CHRIST: THE ALBUM and tell me any of the studio tracks remotely resemble punk.

Add your thoughts?

Acts Of Love - Crass 1985
Rating = 2


Although credited to "Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine," this horrendous cut-throat album is considered part of the Crass discography, so I selflessly listened to it a full two times in a row for review purposes even though I had to move out of my house by the end because it was full of vomit.

Acts of Love consists of 50 Penny Rimbaud poems sung/shouted by Eve Libertine over some of the ugliest and most tuneless avant-garde synth compositions ever (poorly) written. Most of the tracks are about a minute long and seem to have no direction at all, instead just presenting a collection of what sound like random notes for Eve to vainly struggle against. Some of the music sounds regal and Renaissance Fairey, but most is what some might call "modern classical composition" as others correctly recognize it as "worthless keyboard shit". Some of the tracks also feature bass guitar and/or corny blues guitar soloing, but obviously that doesn't help.

Penny Rimbaud describes the work as "songs to my other self" intended to celebrate "'the profound sense of unity, peace and love that exists within that other self." I think I speak for that other self when I say, "Next time just give me a gift certificate." Did he seriously spend any time on this music AT ALL!? Here, look at some of the things I wrote down as I listened to it:

- "Medieval but shitty keyboard. Piano. Bad. BAD!"
- "Shitty - So shitty!"
- "Dead Can Dancey ethereal. Not good though."
- "La-de-da British pblll."
- "No melody garbage."
- "Farty synth tone."
- "Sparkledust of synth idiocy."
- "Regal blasts of crap."
- "Drums! BIg synth rock like Abacab-era Genesis! Still blows though."
- "Melodrama over stupid "WOOOOOO!" synth tone."
- "Ugly moany chords. Clingy ball hair."
- "As directionless as everything else on here, just longer."
- "Stupid 'scary' Broadway garbage."
- "Tuneless blapping."
- "A bit classical like 'Faggy Spring'. BAD! SO BAD!!" (I apparently couldn't think of the name 'The RItes of Spring' at the time)
- "Basically horseshit as always."
- "Bad! NOT a melody!"
- "Stupid bullshit. Regal and stupid as shit!"
- "Sci-fi synth bwoops, shocks, bullshit!"
- "Crazy ping-pong ball bullshit!"
- "Shitty keyboard shit!"
- "Shit noise!"
- "Shit!"

And thank God for the word "shit" because I'd otherwise be completely unable to describe this record. The only reason it's getting a 2 instead of a 1 is because there ARE a few fun little bouncy moments here and there, buried within the 50 tracks of overwhelming stench. Poem #18, for example, is a silly, fun little tinkle-dinkle well worth its weight in salt. Poem #40 is another winner, with a bouncy bass tossing in the ham-jam. And sure, it's only about four seconds long but by that point I was willing to take anything I could get.

As for the actual poems, well I'm no poem guy but I'd swear this stuff is kinda stupid. Here are just two of many possible examples I didn't write down:

- "You ask for the world! It is yours! Your confusion is the box in which you put answers! Your limitations are the walls of the box! Destroy the box!"
- "Beware! The tree has no idea of itself!"
- "Turds! How I love ya, how I love ya - Turds! It's plain to see that I am for you, and you are for me and for Turds!"

See? Come on, that's not good.

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10 Notes On A Summer's Day EP - Crass 1986
Rating = 7


Interesting! The title track is a nine-minute piece of music that is kind of a soothing version of the structured/unstructured/freeform/musical attack you heard on Yes Sir I Will, with both the music and vocals drifting from melody to melody to riff to harmony to disharmony over and over and over again. Very bizarre and intriguing, with spoken/sung vocals, keyboards and all sorts of odd Crassities. The second track, however, is kind of an instrumental, less interesting version of the same. Buy it if you see it cheap.

Reader Comments

res046pm@gte.net

I HATE THE CREATOR OF THIS PAGE. HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK HE IS TALKING ABOUT. People, dont make crass another trend. stop listen and fucking act. Dont give me your i listen to the clash shit. The clash can go fuck themselves. Do u guys even hear the anti-war, anti-religion, anti-sexism, pro peace and anarchy messages that are just constantly blasted into ur year..? Im tired of fucking writing on this page. The writer of the page needs to be more acknowledged in the history and meaning of crass. Stop blasting guitar and drums into ur head, pull out the insert and FUCKING THINK!!!!

Are u some sort of newschool freak? Do u even know what punk is.....dont ever tell me crass isnt punk.....they dont have lame fast music like pennywise...so they arent punk?...The stuff Crass talks about is way more interesting then pennywise crap. The crass symbol is a fucking cross crossed out.......but all of u people out there....a swastika is a broken cross.......what are u calling pop.....u find me a radio station willing to play this....i'll slit my throat......Take down this page..u have no idea how to analyze a great band like crass.....go listen to Rudimentary Peni, Dirt, Zounds and other good crass bands....

Do u guys listen to the lyrics at all? How can u like exploited and then like subhumans? Exploited is pro-violence oi bands and then subhumans is a pacifistic anti-war band? and exploited and sex pistols suck anyways...bunch of fucking capitalist assholes

you can not rate bands. Quit take this page down....or i will......

samted@supanet.com
I agree with the guy above - sorta, crass cannot be compared to pennywank or any of those other lame so.cal pop bands Maybe propagandi but for fucks sake check out active minds, oi polloi, or the excellent crass covers lp on ruptured ambitions records ********* (9 stars). Consolidated are more punk than morons like guttermouth could ever be. crass were and are a lifestyle. be good to eachother.

fango2000@optushome.com.au
Man, all you pro Crass and Anti Crass fans should lighten up. It's music. That's all. Get a life and have some fun.

PS
And yes I like em or liked em back in 83 or so and still listen to them every now and then. Do I believe everything they say? Of course not. I've got a brain and can make up my own mind about things. But they made me think.

Keep up the good work Mark. You make me piss myself laughing.

res046pm@gte.net
Yeah, well, WCBN in Ann Arbor had a Crass afternoon last year. So there!

And it was lousy....

johncarson@ntlworld.com
Whos crass ?

osbert@compuserve.com (Ole John Berthelsen)
Mmmm... Maybe you boys and girls on the other side of the pool (well, some of you anyway) may need a bit of effort to understand the idea about Crass (in Penny Rimbaud's words, they never saw themselves as a band), however, to assess them as imposing ideology is just a bit naff. They say what they beleive, so much could be said for most people these days- however, never once do they tell you WHAT to beleive; crass painted a bleak and realistic picture of the very very very fucked-up 80's with a lot of boldness, vivacity and anger. You can agree or disagree, but to say they emanate hate for anyone unlike them is missing the point altogether. Crass are a band who make you question the perverse world we live in. If you feel their ideas are being imposed upon you (like our friend the fat skanka), then maybe you're a bit thicker than you make yourself out to be. Crass is not a band puking out slogans. Crass' uniqueness is exactly due to the opposite. They make YOU ask yourself the questions.

Vogeldominic@aol.com
Punk is dead. Crass said it best. All of you ignorent assholes need to realize that. For anybody who cannot tolerate someone saying that religion is fucked up is a facist and probably likes shitty bands such as no fx and all that bullshit.

Adzandleif@aol.com
very highly recommended is the "Shibboleth" book by Penny Rimbaud for a good 1st hand account of the main man behind crass, and how he feels about it all nearly 20 years after

bring on the crass sellout reunion! (yeah right, itll never happen, but then again i thought that about black flag)(even though thats for the pussy cats

kingdom@rapidial.co.uk
A lot of the comments on this page have got to be some of the least intelligent I have witnessed on the whole of Prindle's site. Crass fans should realise that they are not putting the band in such a good light with all their obscenities and dogmatic views. People who don't like religion being 'dissed' are not fascists. Fascism was an ideology set up by Mussolini in Italy that had nationalistic views. Religious people are not all nationalists. Doesn't most religion actually preach peace. I don't think the pope or many religious people listen to bands like NOFX and pennywise either, as a person above said.

Oh yes, to the people who criticise Prindle for rating the music of the Crass and not the lyrics, if you think lyrics are more important, read books. I'm sure you can find many books with more intelligent views in than Crass.

BTW, I'm not religious myself but it does do a lot in promoting a moral lifestyle for people. Many of you Crass fans don't come across as too moral. You seem to be going through teenage rebellion.

Oh, sorry, did I upset you with this message. Now you know how it feels to be anyone but the type of person who follows all the Crass rules but may lead a good lifestyle who is reading this page.

Right, now is your chance to call me rude words and slam me for not being an anarchist. OK............Go!

rswanson@holyfamily.edu (Rhonda Swanson)
As a huge Crass fan, Im going to have to agree with the people who are advising the lot to "lighten up".

I started listening to Crass when I was 14 (16 years ago) and I guess I probably would have been a wee bit bent if I heard someone slagging my fave band...but now that Im the wise age of 30, I realize, its just music. I still listen to it, I still love it...but I realized many years ago that being "punk" has absolutely NOTHING to do with how you dress or what ya listen to ( I hate ending sentences with prepositions.) The fact is, half ( or more) of the people reading this ( including myself) missed the actual tide by 15-20 years, so quit harping on what is and isnt punk etc etc. Its boring and its all been said before. My last comment is simply this: If you subscribe to EVERY friggin thing a band ( or anyone for that matter) says for the sake of being a purist, well guess what? You're just another lemming...

P.S. Prindle, this site is a riot. It provides hours of endless entertainment for me. Thanks!

eastendpunk@hotmail.com
you know most people miss the point totally with Crass. Crass were a collective,who never seen themselves as a band as such,but as a group of like minded individuals using the medium of music to share their views with all out there.their rebelliousness linked them to punk ideals, though you didn't hear them call themselves punk,they shared the don't give a fuck attitude,in that they don't care if others didn't like what they say.there will be no other like Crass,they certainly changed my outlook on life.ANARCHY & FREEDOM IS WHAT I WANT !

soldasfreedom430@hotmail.com
in response to the following:

"Oh yes, to the people who criticise Prindle for rating the music of the Crass and not the lyrics, if you think lyrics are more important, read books. I'm sure you can find many books with more intelligent views in than Crass."

I'm pretty sure that if Crass went back in time and became a band that was just instrumental, few to no people would like them. Their music is really catchy and all, but the lyrics to the songs are what really matter. Isn't that the whole reason that Crass formed, anyways? To get their message across?

You can hate Crass because they hate religion, but in a way, they've got a point. I was born and raised a Christian in a family with parents who believe that no rules should be questioned or broken. I don't have an ounce of belief in religion anymore, because my parents were such oppressive assholes that I looked for a way out of it. I have a serious problem with religion because while it has good morals and ethics behind it, some people take these way too seriously and way too far. You can have good morals and ethics without believing in God or Buddha or Allah or whoever. And if there is a 'life after death' then I hope the one true God judges us on our overall actions rather than just whether or not we believed.

Shamsam69@aol.com
does know one understand wat crass is or summit

Rian Yirkah
Crass fucking sucked. Just a bunch of punk-rock geldings: all dick and no balls.

Lastly, that first commenter has to be dumbest person ever to comment on your site.

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