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The Feeding of the 5000

Crass

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Album Review

Perhaps the most uncompromising early British punk record. This is far more interesting for its form than its content: super-brief, incoherent rants over pummeling drums and incomprehensible vocals were made into a hardcore cliché by the early '80s, but were impossibly radical and noisy in 1978. If you're at all left-of-center, you can find a good deal to sympathize with in the lyrics here, which address class warfare, social hypocrisy, organized religion, and punk rock itself with serious venom. It's not without humor at times, either, as on the famous chorus, "Do they owe us a living? Of course they f*cking do!" (A lyric sheet, always an essential item for Crass releases, is provided.) The melodic and textural qualities of the record, not to mention the throat-full-of-vomit vocals, are unrelentingly harsh and monotonous, but with a band such as this, this is exactly the point. The most enduring piece, actually, had relatively little to do with traditional punk rock: on "Asylum," the spoken female voice delivers a vitriolic attack on Christianity over disquieting guitar feedback.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The brittlest and most hard-line radical of the first wave of British punk bands, Crass issued a blitz of records that were ruthless in both their unrelenting sociopolitical screeds and their amelodic crash of noise. The horrors of war, the arbitrary nature of legal justice, sexism, media imagery, organized religion, the flaws of the punk movement itself — all were subjected to harsh critique. Like few other rock bands before or since, Crass took rock-as-agent-of-social-and-political-change...
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The Feeding of the 5000, Crass
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