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5 September 2011

Crass - 'The Feeding of the 5000' (Small Wonder)

"Small Wonder" was this terrible TV show that I watched when aged in the single digits, about some girl that was actually a robot but masquerading as a suburban 9-year-old. I don't know if it took its name from the record label that released this first Crass record (is this an LP or EP? I've never been sure) but this is the famous pressing where they refused to press 'Asylum', which is an explicit, transgressive spoken word piece that I know from the CD reissue. But that was so many years ago that I forgot and was like "WTF is the first two minutes of this record silent?" I gotta say that 45 rpm suits Crass well - these songs sound great. How did these crusties achieve such a good recording quality? It's on here twice, and it's the most iconic Crass song, but seriously, did punk ever achieve a better song? I came to Crass late so I don't have this deep resonance with them; their ideas were already bouncing off my jaded ears by then, so I have to just assess the MUSIC. And I think this slays. 'Do They Owe Us a Living?' is on here twice, but then again, it's Crass's most famous song and a high water mark of the whole idiom. Listening to this, I'm transported back to many punk house kitchens, where black-clad friends had lengthy discussions about quinoa, Proctor and Gamble and In/Humanity. Crass had chops, unlike many of their followers - the rock crunch is there, the anthemic nature undeniable (yet not cheesy). 'General Bacardi' fucking slays; there's a confidence that can only come from a communal dedication to a philosophy of which the band is almost a byproduct. When listening to this, I found myself thinking I ought to grab copies of the other Crass records I don't have (which is everything except this and Stations). I came to Crass late -- late enough to appreciate, for sure, but also too late to make the life-defining bond with this music that so many others have. Is it too late? I don't fucking know, but I guess we'll see.

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