21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Plenty of people are up in arms over this release but I am happy it exists. This album, originally released in 1978, was unlike anything else at the time and has spawned a whole movement. Crass can't be blamed for that, they were asking us to think for ourselves, but that is easier said than done at times. What Crass did for me was expose the lies, hypocrisy and 'threat' of society, ourselves and rock 'n' roll. Whether any new comers can get past the music contained herein is another matter. This comes from another time and place. But with the added demo tracks and clearer mastering of the original 12" single we can see that there was sophistication in the mess. The message is also depressingly relevant even today. There are many people lining up to slate this reissue but I'm sure there are many more who welcome the chance to listen to this life changing record, (and it really was at the time), and remember that the fight still continues over 30 years later.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2010
I rarely review anything, but this I have to.
Back in my late teens and early twenties Crass had a huge influence on me. I had all their vinyl records, and their artwork up on my walls. Without exaggeration they changed my life, such was the power of their influence. They continued to colour my view of the world up to this day. The Feeding of the 5000 was the first installment, and it was a shock ! At last, here was someone screaming out the things that I couldn't, or was too afraid to, and at breakneck speed. The Pistols and The Clash were brilliant, but they were already drifting, and somehow they hadn't said enough of what I wanted to hear. The Feeding was something else altogether, End Result, They've Got a Bomb, Banned from the Roxy, So What?, so many powerful songs, and the shocking black and white imagery of the sleeves. And they were doing it all on their own terms, apparently independent of the money making machine, even telling people what to pay on the sleeves, how were they doing that ?
Over the intervening years, with work, kids, and so on, they slowly slipped to the back of my mind. But their influence was still there in my attitudes to the world, my continued belief in the hope of anarchism. Then recently someone told me about Jeffrey Lewis, Steve was suddenly taking The Feeding on tour, and now this, the whole collection re-issued. I know there is much disagreement about all this, questions of money and principles, but I for one am delighted to see it all happening. Some compromise is unavoidable in a capitalist world, but what counts for me is getting the message out again to a whole new generation. As many people have said, it's probably more relevant today than it ever was.
The package itself is smartly presented with new artwork, some nice photos ( Crass smiling ! ) and a great little booklet with all the lyrics in, it was always hard to make out what they were singing ! In the intros Steve is down to earth and funny, Penny is full of himself as usual, but you forgive him almost immediately ! It's just a shame that not all the ex-members were involved in this. I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but I hope they can patch things up. My only other moan would be that everything seems to have shrunk in the wash, the old sleeve/poster is midget size, and the print is tiny - my eyes aren't what they used to be ! I have no idea what it should cost, but I know I trust the people behind it, and I'm happy to pay their price. I was thrilled to see it on Amazon in its smart new form, and I hope it sells by the lorry load ! Looking forward to Stations of the Crass very soon.
Anarchy and Peace.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2010
I can't say I noticed a vast difference in sound quality [I never do] but the additional material and the lovingly created packaging were enough to tempt me and they didn't disappoint. I know Crass is not everyone's cup of tea but they are pretty unique conceptually, musically and lyrically and inspired many, and continue to do so. Some of this material is rather samey but tracks like Securicor [this really is a punk classic] Reality Asylum, Banned From the Roxy, Punk Is Dead and of course Do They Owe Us a Living, remain timeless and powerful.
Just the other day I was reading in the Observer about near-accidents with nuclear weapons in Britain in the facilities they are stored in, that could have evolved into a nightmare situation and I almost felt smug that people have sneered at the band and their message since day one. As Crass said though, there is no 'them and us', only 'you and me'.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2009
The cartoonish, puppet-mastered posturing of the Sex Pistols and their ilk served its purpose, but Crass were always so much more punk than a few safety pins and a spiky hair-do. Formed by members of an anarcho-pacifist co-operative in late-Seventies Essex, and often dismissed as middle-class hippies, they embraced the DIY `anyone-can-do-it' ethos of punk and utilised it to advocate anarchy both as a way of life, and a way of being, a freedom of self independent from the constrictions of society-imposed conformity, convention and conditioning.
The Feeding of The 5000, their first record, released in 1978, remains their most accessible and the obvious place to start for the uninitiated. It opens with Asylum, a still-shocking spoken-word religious diatribe ('Jesus died for his own sins not mine') now infamous for being replaced by two minutes of silence on early copies after the Irish pressing plant refused to handle it.
The album rattles along at a fair old pace, and there is hardly a pause for breath between the next sixteen tracks (Yes, sixteen - this was released as a 12" EP retailing at just £2.00 - you always did get value for money with Crass) and while they often created catchy and memorable tunes, Crass' music will not be to everyone's taste. Music aside, take the time to pore over the lyrics printed on the sleeve, frighteningly truthful and probably more relevant today than they ever were. This is an uncompromisingly bleak and all-too-familiar picture of a corrupt and degenerate modern society in which school, church, corporation and government conspire to create a nation of un-thinking zombies bowed under by the rat-race, army, religion, and television.
They've Got a Bomb ('they can't wait to try it out'), Fight War Not Wars and the excellent General Bacardi (`the generals sip Bacardi while the privates feel the pain') all remain horribly topical. Banned from the Roxy describes a society built on fear (`a conspiracy to stop you feeling real') and You Pay informs us how we are all contributing to the `system's...political pollution'. `Don't just take it', Crass urge us, `use your own head'.
Women introduces the feminist message that the group would develop on later albums, (`we pay with our bodies') and Angels is an onslaught on the `grey puke' of television which keeps us all in line. Punk Is Dead even rejects punk itself, dismissing it as just another mindless fashion, feeding off the society it purports to reject.(`CBS promote the Clash/but it ain't for revolution, it's just for cash')
So good it appears twice, the album ends with a reprise of the marvellously anthemic Do They Owe Us a Living? perhaps best summing up the Crass philosophy: `Of course they do, of course they do'!
Crass tell it how it is, and it is not pretty. If you are easily offended, get over it: the society they describe is far more obscene than a few swear words. For once it is true to say this record really could change your life; at the very least you will never see things in quite the same way again.
on 7 February 2009
This is a worthwhile remaster of a classic record. Maybe because it was never intended as an 'album' in the first place it retains a striking energy - an energy that later Crass product doesn't really sustain. They got into electronics on 'Stations' (1979) - which was ahead of its time (as is this) but somehow it would never be as good as The Feeding of the 5000, to my ears. Maybe later it all became shtick? I don't know - I never listened to anything after Stations so I wouldn't know. I did read Penny Rimbaud's book Shibboleth: My Revolting Life though, and it does give some context. Which is good, because back in the day, it was like this stuff just fell out of the sky and into the record shop, retailing for £1.99 and giving off a vibe of anger.
In terms of the sound here - it's amazing. You could never really hear the different elements of the ensemble on vinyl - not on my Fidelity UA-10-S record player, anyway. The remaster does what the best remasters do - it makes the audio art sound like it was meant to sound, rather than being a post-post-production revision. It's the real thing - just clearer, louder, and with bass guitar and bass drum showing up.
Songwriting - immense. I always enjoyed the audacity of Crass' assault on religion (despite being religious myself). But the anti-religion tracks don't really work - attacking religion from a non-spiritual viewpoint is like saying water is water.
Standout tracks - Do They Owe Us A Living? - always loved this. Love it even more now that I've heard the demos on this disc. Slightly pish performance poetry that evolved into a genius work. Punk is Dead - love the chord progression and the irony. Reject of Society - best drum intro since Strollin' by Prince. Securicor - genius, and funny with it.
Packaging - coffee table/ well it kinda always was, wasn't it/ just depends on your table/ do they owe us a coffee/ yes
It feels weird reviewing this record well over 30 years after first hearing it, especially now that I have a mortgage and a German estate car.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2004
Having listened to this album for the first time in over 20 years it sounds much better now than it did then. The sentiments are more relevant now and the sheer bravado of the music (if thats how you would categorise it) separates it from practically any other 'rock' record ever recorded!! I would guess that most youngsters who hear it today may not be that shocked given the way the pop music world has developed but at the time it was totally revolutionary (in all senses of the word!!). This album should be included on every school curriculum and the teachers should be made to explain it, perhaps then we would see the people of this poor, repressed land fulfill their true potential!! Finally, I would say that any album containing 'Do they owe us a living' is an essential purchase for everyone!! Buy it (or nick it) and play it loud !!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2006
When I first heard this album I was more than impressed. In fact I have been so impressed with this album that I thought I would share a few thoughts.
I can name about three profound musical experiences which have had a effect on me. Listening to a Beethoven Piano Concerto as a child. Hearing my first AC/DC album and lately finding CRASS. I first heard Crass many years ago but it has taken me time to get around to it. In a nut shell this group dares to tread where others only think of going. The songs are fast, furious and at times maybe a little un commercial. But then again thats the point. Crass offers the listener an alternative viewpoint on life, polotics, the state etc and leaves no stones unturned. These are not albums for kids, as some of the message will be lost. If like me you are trapped in the 9-5 exsistence then you might just get some pleasure out of the targets that the group set to destroy. The whole CRASS ethic has moved me so much that I would go as far as to say. The sex pistols sound like an evening with George Formby in comparision. ENJOY!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2011
I was really looking forward to this being reissued as it was one of my faves from back then. Unfortunately, it also falls victim to the sound wars. On the remaster, they've basically turned the volume up as loud as they could and compressed the sound so there's very little difference between the soft bits and loud bits. This is actually hard to listen to. The original production struck the perfect balance, which is completely lost here.
Still, it's an amazing record. Crass at their best imo. My recommendation is go find the original lp, or even the older cd pressing. Avoid this.
on 8 January 2008
I'm no anarchist, not me! Yet I do question the system often & agree with many of the things spat out on this crazed record. "Punk is Dead", ironically, has become not just my favourite punk song, but the most punk song that I've ever heard. This music is inspiring, relentless & horrible at the same time; you can hear the revolution spilling out of your speakers, regardless of how lo-fi the recording is.
on 13 June 2014
This brought back some memories and is as valid now as it was back then, if not more so. This is a must for any one interested in sound and politics. I must add that the seller of this item was great to deal with and provided a surprise extra with the package, highly recommend