Crass Best Before… 1984 2xLP

An outstanding compilation of CRASS material most of which is taken from past singles. But there are three previously unreleased songs that document the band’s musical growth. Recorded interviews and conversations are included, as well as a complete lyrics booklet that contains an essay about the band’s history. Overall, very inspiring and highly recommended.

Crass You’re Already Dead EP

Although nobody could respect CRASS’ political efforts more, I no longer have any desire to listen to their annoying music. It’s not that I object to bands experimenting in principle, but in practice I like to hear fast, raw stuff with a primal beat, and CRASS rarely provide it these days. Despite some intense moments and an out-of-character guitar solo (!), this EP doesn’t quite click.

Crass Who Dunnit? 7″

This is more of a novelty record than a punk record per se. The song gets to the core of British life, both thematically and structurally, since it’s in the form of a rousing pub sing-along, but it’s also about looking at ourselves as being responsible for the officials we elect, not just pointing the finger at them later. CRASS may be serious, but here they display their anger in a humorous format. Americans may find it a bit inaccessible, but if you know that “#10″ is the residence of the Prime Minister and the “Birds” is akin to Jello, you should get the point and have a laugh besides.

Crass Yes Sir, I Will LP

This is a profoundly different sort of CRASS album. It counterpoints a thrashy, wild instrumental backdrop with an extensive lyric essay attacking the politics of power, nuclear escalation, organized religion, and especially our sheep-like passivity that allows it all to happen. CRASS apparently feels that their message hasn’t sunken in yet—hence the numbing music and emphasis on words—and they obviously hope that action will replace boredom and endless posing in the contemporary punk scene.

Crass How Does It Feel? EP

Coming so close on the heels of their Christ — The Album, it’s almost too much to digest. The title song is a catchy headbanging attack on the jingoistic British attitude towards the Falklands/Malvinas crisis. It has created a hoopla in the English press, who amazingly have supported CRASS against Parliament’s cries of “treason.” The flip features Eve and will please fans of Penis Envy. CRASS may be accused of preachiness, but their unrelenting critiques are having an impact.

Crass Christ the Album 2xLP

Two albums, one poster, and a splendid 28-page large-format booklet (all in a sleek boxed set) seems all too much to digest—especially from England’s most astute punk outfit, CRASS. The studio LP, ranging from unrestrained thrash to sophisticated post-punk, contains some of CRASS’s most astonishing compositions to date; especially exciting are “The Great Working Class Rip-Off” and “Tribal Rival,” two impassioned attacks on Oi violence, and the superbly written “Reality Whitewash” which exposes vicious sex stereotypes and roles. In addition to a delightful live LP, Penny Rimbaud’s extensive article in the booklet provides a historical background for CRASS that’s spellbinding, perceptive, and lyrical. This release is incredibly mandatory.