Crust punks all over the world are probably vomiting at the sound of Jeffrey Lewis’s interpretation of 12 Crass Songs (12 songs by the band Crass). Those familiar with the Thatcher-era contrarians and their anarchic mess of poor recordings will do a double take when they hear this New York folksinger’s tender and unplugged rethink.
Against all odds, it comes together winningly, perhaps because Lewis isn’t interested in resurrecting Crass’s anti-system rhetoric. He’d rather shine a light on the fact that, despite the band’s insistence on being the musical equivalent of a building falling down, some great tunes were buried beneath the rubble. And if there ever was a case against downloading, the supremely cool packaging here, complete with a mini graphic novel detailing the backstory of the idea, demands a rare trip to the record store.
Jeffrey Lewis gets Crass at the Mod Club Wednesday (February 20).