Christ the Album was the fourth album by Crass from 1982. It was originally released as a boxed set double vinyl LP package, including one disk of new studio material and another, entitled Well Forked… But Not Dead, of a live recording of their June 1981 gig at the 100 Club in London along with other studio tracks, demos and tape fragments. The box also included a book, A Series Of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums (which featured Penny Rimbaud’s essay The Last of the Hippies, telling the story of the suspicious death of his friend Wally Hope) and a largesize poster painted by Gee Vaucher.
The album took over a year to record, produce and mix, during which time the Falklands War had taken place. This caused Crass to fundamentally question their approach to making records, for as a group whose very reason for existing was to comment upon political issues, they felt they had been overtaken and made to appear redundant by real world events.
Ratcheting up the continued “leave no stone unturned” lyrical approach that characterized the group from the start, Crass again sounds like the group’s about to explode in eight million directions. Ignorant takes over the lead vocal role again, his rough ramalama bitterly leading the charge against the loathed Thatcher government and the society that allowed it to come into power. Libertine, here appearing as Peeve Libido, adds backing vocals while De Vivre takes the lead on Birth Control and Sentiment. Free’s guitar work roars along with the usual vim, as does the Pete Wright aka Sybil Right / Rimbaud rhythm section, while continual spiking of the musical punch via production or sonic collages, or even almost power pop catchiness at points, prevents things from being one note.
In addition to the two records, this box set contains a poster and the 26-page booklet “A Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums.
(Crass Records/Reissue 2019)