Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Crass - Stations Of The Crass (Remastered), The Crassical Collection

Originally released in 1979 as double album, Stations of the Crass is generally perceived as Crass best album . 30 odd years later, Stations... still has the power to stop you in your tracks. The intro to 'Mother Earth' - a hair on the back of the neck moment - claustrophobic and disturbing - Joy De Vivre reciting Henry Purcell's 1688 An Evening Hymn, Ignorant pleading "Mother? Mother? Mother?" over deep bass and discordant guitars. The intention and effect immediately pushes the listener off balance.

Crass remain a very difficult band to categorise. Stations of the Crass consolidates the sound and fury introduced on Feeding of the 5000. Frequently dismissed as musically one dimensional, with Stations..., Crass present a range of sounds and styles. Dub like basslines underpin several tracks, 'The Gasman Cometh' is almost post-punk and sounds uncannily like Wire, while the Clash are pastiched (and pilloried) on 'White Punks On Hope' and 'System'. And as always, the lyrics remain insightful and incisive.

Beautifully packaged with new artwork by Gee Vaucher and including a humourous and informative booklet by Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud. This, the second of Southern's lavish Crass reissues, dispenses with Disc 2 Live at the Pied Bull, Islington (available as a free download from and replaces it with Crass only and much bootlegged Peel Session.

The remastering on this release is a revelation. There is so much going on in these songs, most of it previously hidden by the limitations of the original production process. These remasters offer a sense of space - creating dynamics, opening up the songs, affording them more subtlety and conversely more power. Rimbaud writes in the booklet that with Thatcher ascending to power in 1979 "the honeymoon was over". The issues addressed by Crass remain as relevant today as they were 30 years ago. The Crassical Collection is an exceptional and timely reissue programme which will hopefully make Crass more accessible than they ever were before. For more information go to (review by Peter Dickie)