Crass - The Feeding of the 5000 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


The Feeding of the 5000 (1978)


To start with a lame cliché, Crass is a band that you either love or think is total crap. I, personally, am one of the people that love it. Since I'm not old enough to ever have actually seen them play, I can't give you a review in context of late-`70s Britain, or the response to this album. All I can give is what it means to me.

The albums starts with the nightmarish spoken-word "Asylum," spoken by Eve Libertine. The song speaks of Crass's hate for the tyranny and violence that they believe was perpetrated by Jesus Christ and his followers. The song reaches its climax with screeching feedback and noise. This sets the album's tone right from the beginning. The Sex Pistols may have hated the Queen, but they never pissed on "God." The next track, "Do They Owe Us a Living?," sets the band's style for the remainder of the album. It has a fast, martial beat, screeching, simplistic guitars, and heavy anarchist and anti-authoritarian lyrics, sung by lead vocalist Steve Ignorant. Most of the tracks on the album sound similar at first, but all have intense, recognizable lyrics with a bit of sarcasm. The enduring "Punk Is Dead," which (apparently) sparked a wave of meathead-punk backlash, laments the acceptance of bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash into the mainstream. "They've Got a Bomb" is a typical lyrical topic for punk albums, but Crass's atypical playing and writing will leave you a bit surprised the first time you hear that song.

Another two spoken-word pieces, "Fight War, Not Wars" (the band's slogan), and "Women," break up the simplistic but catchy punk songs. Bassist Pete Wright sings on three of the tracks, which contrasts nicely to Steve, Eve, and Joy's voices. The album finishes with a refrain of "DTOUAL," providing a sort of "closure."

This release has so much attitude, naive anarchist lyrics (ANOK4UOK?), and bizarre chord progressions that it will leave you confused, and happy. This will shake your perception of what punk can be. In my opinion, this album was so far beyond what any of their contemporaries were doing, that it just destroys them. A great, bizarre, angry album.