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quick take : crass : penis envy, christ – the album

15 Apr 2011 · No Comments

“The Crassical Collection” is currently my favorite first-wave punk-band remaster series. Not only do the albums all come with gobs of bonus material, facsimile of the original art, and booklets jammed with essays, lyrics, art, and photos, but the new slip cases will join up to make a giant acid-washed Crass logo when my collection is complete, like the backs of Topps bubblegum trading cards. It seems perfectly emblematic of the complex relationship this most uncompromising of the old guard bands has with commerce.
Crass - Penis Envy
Penis Envy is probably my favorite Crass record to actually listen to, as opposed to admiring, mostly because of Eve Libertine’s more prominent vocal role. This has rather less bonus material than many of the packages, but both new (to me, at least) tracks are priceless: there’s a radio advert version of “Our Wedding,” and “The Unelected President” which has more-or-less the same relationship to “Major General Despair” as the DK’s “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now” has to “California Uber Alles”
Crass - Christ: The Album
Christ – The Album has maybe my favorite Crass track to actually listen to, “Bumhooler,” mostly because it sounds like something Fugazi might have been listening to as they became the band that would make Red Medicine and the records that followed it.
The track gaps on the second disc don’t quite seem to match up with the actual track divisions. With most bands this would seem like a mistake; with Crass, it’s a statement. “Listen to the whole sodding gloriously anarchic mess from beginning to end, or don’t listen at all!” Why, yes sir, I will.
I also enjoyed Penny Rimbaud’s communication about the miscommunication of the number of tracks on the release (listed as 48 on the slip case, though there are “only” 46):

Under normal conditions 22+24=46. However, being what it is, human error (or was it a quantum leap?) intervened in the case of this package to give an alternative (if not radical) result of 48. Notwithstanding (and with appropriate apologies to all concerned parties), theories asserting that 1+1 = 3 should not be discounted.
Enlightenment mechanics have seen their day. Quantum is the new poetry – 22+24=0+<infinity>

Yanks like me will be happy to learn that Piccadilly and Southern Records are happy to send these treasures ‘cross the pond.

Tags: 2011 · c · punk · punk orthodoxy · quick take · southern

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