Crass (1977 – 1984) Best Before (LP) Crass Records 5 (1984)

Best Before
Crass Records (5)
Material: 1977 – 1984
Recorded 1977 – 1984, released July 1984 (UK only)

This double LP collects singles and unreleased material, a nice gesture, saving fans from having to collect all the singles, and packaging the material with killer artwork.  While this might have been better served up as a more concise two-sider, it certainly provides an overview of their history, moving from fairly straight-forward punk to abrasive avant garde. 

For fans, this is essential.  It also serves as a good intro.

— winch



Crass (1979) Stations of the Crass (LP)


Crass 521984


Rating:**** (Recommended)

released September 1979

Crass returns to chuck more wrenches at everything in sight, including the Clash, democrats and liberals, again reminding everyone what punk was all about: cars, girls and anarchy. (Maybe they forgot to include songs about cars, but anarchy is thoroughly covered.)

This might have been better served as a two-sider, but who am I to tell Crass how to make an album.

This is another essential set for fans, puts most punk of 1979 to shame.  Three sides studio, one side live.

— winch (author of…


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Crass (1978) The Feeding of the 5000 (LP)


The Feeding of the 5000

Recommended ****

Released December 1978 (UK only)

Anyone who wants to understand punk, or a lesson about what went wrong, needs to give this set a listen.  The cover is one of the greatest sleeves in rock-and-roll history, but one needs to go beyond that, put the record on the turntable and crank it high enough to tick off the neighbors.  While some of the band’s other material might interest a variety of listeners, on this debut they march through both sides with a single direction, the rhythm a mix of R&B and military marching, stomping everything in sight with the sound of punk rock.

While most early punk was simply R&B, even more so than most of the rock stylings of the mid 70s, some punk bands were clearly offering something new, Suicide in the States for example, and this outfit in the UK.  If you can’t recognize the R&B core of those two bands, you’re not really listening, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t breaking open something that had rarely seen the light of day.  In order to understand something, you have to break it open.

A lot of punks on politics can get annoying and sound self-righteous, let the politics get in the way of not just the music but the message as well.  Meanwhile, Crass mixed everything into one thing, dropped punk into a batch of battery acid and dissolved it down to its core.

This album is about as punk as it gets.  Not that a sound has to be pure punk to sound good, but Crass deserves credit for recognizing something and something wrong, and getting down to the gritty core of it.

— winch (author of…


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