Jeffrey Lewis – ’12 Crass Songs’

Jeffrey Lewis - '12 Crass Songs' album reviewngs-album-review

(CD/12″ • Rough Trade • 2007)

I do love Crass, and I also wanted some of those songs to be enjoyable to people who don’t only want to listen to early 80s hardcore punk. At a certain period in history it might have been crucial for Crass to get those songs across by tying them to a certain attitude and style, but in a different period that attitude and style becomes a barrier to the songs, it holds the songs back instead of pushing the songs onwards.”

Jeffrey Lewis – Interview with Audio Antihero Records

Transforming Crass’s original anarchic, vitriolic and militant call to arms into gorgeously subversive, psychedelic rock melodic pop folk (complete with lush harmonies and organs!), the wonderful ’12 Crass Songs’ truly is one of the greatest albums of the zero decades, and deserves wider exposure.

I’d like to thank the venerable Dave Stitch for turning me on to this record, via his exquisite remix of the album’s version of ‘Big A, Little A’, which you might still be fortunate enough to find online somewhere.

The original Crass recordings are totally great and impossible to make any better, but the substance is strong enough to outlive that. Songs of moral rebellion are great, people all over the world sing Bob Marley songs and Bob Dylan songs and Woody Guthrie songs and stuff like that, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t sing Crass songs too.”

Jeffrey Lewis – Interview with Audio Antihero Records

’12 Crass Songs’ is almost perfect. The juxtaposition of Lewis’s catchy acoustic rearrangements with the militant motivational hardcore of Crass’s lyrics creates a wonderfully warm, dramatic, and affecting album, breathing new and rich emotional life into the songs therein.

Praised very highly indeed across the mainstream press (Mojo, NME, Rolling Stone, Spin, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Sun, Uncut, Vice, and the Village Voice, to list a few), the members of Crass must find it all a bit disturbing, but perhaps their clarion call might spread to a fertile new audience in these interesting times…

Seems their defence is just the threat of strength,
Protection for the privileged at any length.
The government protecting their profits from the poor,
The rich and the fortunate chaining up the door.”

Crass – ‘Banned from the Roxy’

Jeffrey Lewis | Discogs