Steve Ignorant - The Kids Was Just Crass [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Steve Ignorant

The Kids Was Just Crass [10-inch] (2022)

Stay Free Recordings

Well, here is a VERY cool little treat. As you all know, Crass was named from a lyric in the song “Ziggy Stardust.” Also, if you read a few various Crass interviews, musically, Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud clash on a lot of things, but one act they both love is David Bowie. So, it’s quite fitting for Steve to link up with his acoustic band, Slice of Life, and pay tribute to the Starman across four Bowie covers. It’s doubly nice that the release benefits the UK’s Way Out Radio.

I’ll admit that before hearing the release, I was disappointed to learn that it was a mostly acoustic affair. Well, I was wrong. Even though it is mostly acoustic, the band plays with such force and soul it doesn’t feel weak and dry. Rather, the whole thing feels honest, powerful, and energetic. Just check out the cover of “Five Years” which opens with that iconic crying piano before Steve comes in at his most vulnerable.

Now, Bowie was famous for his iconic timbre, his sonic sensitivity, and high pitched, but rich voice. Steve is not known for any of these things… but here comes the big whammy. Somehow, Steve nails these tracks like a few other artists. There endless, endless Bowie covers. But, whereas most artists go for blown out maximalism, and few go for so-wimpy-why-did-you-even-try folk plucking, somehow, Steve can hear, and project what almost no one can- I never really thought about it, but throughout Bowie’s tracks, Bowie is constantly inserting weird little vocal eccentricities, bends, and tics, and really, those are some of the “tricks” that makes Bowie tracks so powerful. Most people blow right past them, but somehow Steve hears these barely perceptible inflections and adds them back in. Just listen to how he slightly whimpers when he says “then we were Ziggy’s band” on side two. He’s so good at it that he proves that soul and meaning and sensitivity doesn’t come from the head or musical training or even “a strong voice”, it comes from the heart and this EP shows that Steve has loads of it.

I’m not lying when I saw I was genuinely moved by this release. Is it due to Bowie’s seminal songwriting? Is it due to Steve’s emotional fearlessness. I don’t know. But what I do know, is that the cerebral and spiritual energy conjured by Crass, and conjured by Bowie, is all from the same stream, and it must stretch far back beyond the ancients and it will stretch far into the millennia. I hope Steve, and Penny, and Bowie, realize they greatly helped this stream keep its momentum.