Review Summary: By their own standards and the standards of their fans, this is not one of Crass' finest works. However, even with this fact there is still plenty that is admirable and great about this album.
Usually when a reputable band takes over a year to record, produce and mix an album, the outcome is expected to be spectacular (i.e. ‘Everything Went Numb’ from Streetlight Manifesto). However, with Crass’ fourth studio release ‘Christ: The Album,’ the ticket fell far from short.
During the year they took to make the album, The Falklands Way had come and gone, causing the band members to stop and take a look at themselves and what they were doing. A band who’s purpose for existence was to annotate and criticize political issues and politicians and promote peace and anarchy, had completely neglected a war being fought by their country on their, at the time, current recording. By their own standards, they had not done well.
As for the album itself, it also lacked the Crass sound and ability that fans had grown accustomed to and expected from the band. Even with this let down, there are still plenty of high points showcasing Crass’ ability to shine in dark situations. ‘Have A Nice Day’ and ‘It’s The Greatest Working Class Rip-Off’ instantly became fan favorites and are worthy of anyone’s ‘Crass Playlist’. ‘Who Can Be Who?’, ‘Buy Now Pay As You Go’ and ‘Rival Tribal Revel Rebel, Pt. 2’ are all songs that truly draw on their roots of ‘The Feeding Of The 5000’ and ‘Stations Of The Crass’ with fast raunchy vocals from Steve Ignorant (who returns after his absence from their previous release ‘Penis Envy’) and Pete Wright (appearing here as Sybil Right), as well as the wonderfully ironic military percussion stylings of Penny Rimbaud (appearing as Elvis Rimbaud). Speaking of Penny, the original vinyl release included a book, ‘A Series Of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums’, in which an essay by Rimbaud was featured: ‘The Last Of The Hippies’, which told the eerie story of Wally Hope’s suspicious death.
The album came out as a double disk release, the first obviously being ‘Christ: The Album’ and the second, a live recording from a June 1981 gig at the 100 Club in London along with snippets and fragments provided by the ever-present Gee Vaucher (appearing on the album as G. Sus) , who also included in the original release a poster portraying her depiction and critique of society and sexism that you truly have to see to understand.
Despite mixed reviews from fans, the album still reached #1 on the UK Indie charts in 1982, and remained there for quite sometime. Funny innit? A band who reaches #1 on the charts is disappointed and feels that they had failed; just another example of why Crass is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, punk group to ever grace this planet they worked so hard to save and educate.