Penis Envy (album)

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Penis Envy
Studio album by Crass
Released 1981
Recorded December, 1980
Genre Anarcho-punk
Length 32:50
Label Crass Records
Producer Crass
Crass chronology
Stations of the Crass
(1979)
Penis Envy
(1981)
Christ – The Album
(1982)
Alternative covers
Cover of the remastered 'Crassical Collection' rerelease
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Penis Envy, released in 1981, was the third LP by anarchist punk band Crass.

Named as a reference to some of Freud's ideas concerning sexuality,[2] this release marked something of a departure from the somewhat 'macho', 'hardcore punk' image that The Feeding of the 5000 and its follow up Stations of the Crass had to some extent given the group, for it featured more obviously complex musical arrangements, as well as exclusively female vocals provided by Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre (although Steve Ignorant remained a group member and is credited on the record sleeve as not on this recording).[3] The album addressed feminist issues and once again attacked the institutions of 'the system' such as marriage and sexual repression.

One track, not actually listed on the album cover, was a deliberately sacharine (described in fact by the band themselves as pure, unadulterated shit) parody of a "MOR" love song entitled "Our Wedding" [1]. This was given away as a flexi disc with a teenage girl's romance magazine called Loving after having been offered it by an organisation calling itself Creative Recording And Sound Services (note the initials). A minor tabloid furore erupted once the hoax was revealed, with the News of the World going so far as to state that the album's title was "too obscene to print" (a leaflet giving the background to this Situationist-style prank was subsequently issued by the band [2]). Now considered a rarity, the original flexi-disc now fetches high prices on the collectors market.

The album was banned by retailers HMV. During the mid-1980s, under the direction of James Anderton copies were seized, along with other records by Crass and The Dead Kennedys, by Greater Manchester Police from Eastern Bloc record shop. Frank Schofield was charged with displaying "Obscene Articles For Publication For Gain". The band Flux of Pink Indians, its two record labels and its publishing company were also charged under the Obscene Publications Act. The judge ruled against Crass in the ensuing court case, although this decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal, apart from the lyrics to one song, Bata Motel. The heavy costs incurred by this episode were a contributing factor in Crass deciding to disband.[4]

The 'Crassical Collection' version of this release, including new artwork by Gee Vaucher, remastered sound, liner notes by Eve Libertine and Penny Rimbaud and bonus material, was released in November 2010.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Bata Motel" - 3:34
  2. "Systematic Death" - 3:57
  3. "Poison in a Pretty Pill" - 3:40
  4. "What the Fuck?" - 6:43
  5. "Where Next Columbus?" - 3:11
  6. "Berkertex Bribe" - 3:21
  7. "Smother Love" - 1:48
  8. "Health Surface" - 3:31
  9. "Dry Weather" - 3:06
  10. "Our Wedding" (unlisted track, also released as a flexi disc (see above)) - 2:04
  11. "Yorkie Talk" (Compiled from archive material. Southern Studios, January 2009)*
  12. "Yes, Folks" (Collage of "Our Wedding"/Loving hoax. Southern Studios, January 2009)*
  13. "The Unelected President" (Rewrite/remix of "Major General Despair" - previously released on "Peace Not War". Southern Studios, Spring 2003)*
  • 'Crassical Collection' bonus tracks.

Line up[edit]

  1. Eve Libertine - Vocals
  2. Joy De Vivre - Vocals on "Health Surface"
  3. Phil Free - Lead Guitar
  4. B.A.Nana - Rhythm Guitar
  5. Pete Wright - Bass
  6. Penny Rimbaud - Drums
  7. G - Harmonium on "What the Fuck?"
  8. CRASS Member not on this recording - Steve Ignorant
  9. Engineered by John Loder
  10. Paintings by G
  11. Design by Crass at Exitstencil Press

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Berger, George. The Story of Crass. PM Press. 2009.
  3. ^ Raha, Maria. Cinderella's big score: women of the punk and indie underground Seal Press. 2005.
  4. ^ Rimbaud, P; sleeve notes to 'The Crassical Collection; Ten Notes On A Summer's Day' Crass Records, 2012

External links[edit]