Review Summary: This is an album people must listen to in order to decide if they like the sound of it; but lyrically and content wise there is no denying how great a work this is.
Let me start off by saying that I am one of the most avid Crass supporters you will if ever meet; from the first time I heard “Bloody Revolutions” and “Do The Owe Us a Living"” I knew that this band was the real deal and that they were an amazing act. What I’ve learned since however is that they were one of the first (if not the first) bands to firmly believe in what they preached and were meaningful in everything they did, which is a far cry from most so called ‘punk’ acts today.
This record is unlike most recordings by bands of any genre; it is intended to be listened to on vinyl with two separate but continuous tracks, one on each side, both untitled; the CD version is split up into seven untitled tracks. The best way for me to emulate how this album sounds is in the words of Penny Rimbaud (the drummer of Crass who wrote most of the album, extracting many of the lyrics from his poem ‘Rocky Eyed‘): “ I accept that ‘Yes Sir, I Will,’ is truly one of the most unlistenable records ever made…” The importance of the album however, lies within the content and message sent. As Steve Ignorant (one of the main vocalists of the group) said, “I didn’t like ‘Yes Sir, I Will’ at all, although I liked what it was saying.” This album was written as a protest and attack album against the then prime minister (referred to by Crass in their hit ‘Big A, Little a’ as “Prime Sinister”) Margaret Thatcher and her administration’s involvement and part in the Falklands War.
Whether you think the music on the album is good or listenable or not (I personally think that it is a decent sounding record, especially ‘tracks’ 2 and 4, the former incorporating a wonderful piano and stings section provided by Paul Ellis, and the latter sounding rather parallel of earlier recordings ‘Feeding of the 5000’ and ‘Stations of the Crass’ with Steve [Ignorant] pounding out the same raunchy and original voice that was one of the reasons the band became so popular off their first two releases). Anyways… whether you think the music on the album is good or listenable or not there is no denying the message and point that was meant to be put across. I don’t want to spend a bunch of time writing out the lyrics or anything because I really encourage people who are true fans of this band to go out and buy this album, and I recommend you do it on vinyl because, as the liner notes written by anonymous members of Crass on ‘Christ- the Bootleg’ states, “For the lyrics to the songs featured you are strongly encouraged to seek out the original recordings that they appeared on. These are available on both vinyl and CD format. However, we suggest the vinyl format as they are far more artistically beautiful and aesthetically beautiful, appearing as they were originally released and intended.”