Jeffrey Lewis 12 Crass Songs

Jeffrey Lewis 12 Crass Songs
After years of growing to appreciate the music of legendary anarchist punks Crass (an experience that’s endearingly detailed by hand-drawn comics in the liner notes), New York (anti-)folkie Jeffrey Lewis found the time and ambition to relay their outspoken messages through his meek arrangements. As a fan of both parties, 12 Crass Songs is a remarkable achievement that accomplishes its purpose of focusing the spotlight on that band’s anti-everything, D.I.Y. stance. It’s a little jarring at first to hear a frantic classic like "Systematic Death” become "Hillbillied” or stripping their anthem "Do They Owe Us A Living?” of Steve Ignorant’s biting snarl and substituting the indifferent vocals of Lewis and lady friends but in the context of an entire album, it gels beautifully. This could be the best way to listen to Crass for some people. Sure, it strips them of their visceral delivery but at least through Lewis’s tamer tactics their powerful words are made clear. This is a brilliant homage that fulfils its heavy potential. (Rough Trade)