Everyone knows Crass and everyone has most of the official Crass albums. But most people that I talk to about Crass have never heard or even heard of this. Maybe that's because it's probably not usually credited to Crass. Penny Rimbaud did all the music but Eve Libertine did all the vocals. So I call it Crass. But you could call it just Penny Rimbaud or Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine I suppose.
When I first got into Crass at the same age that every kid who decides that s/he is a punk and can only listen to punk and will start dressing punk and whatever, I hated this kind of shit. In fact I heard this album and did hate it. I probably just said it was gay or whatever kids in middle school or whatever say. I can't believe I even found this album though...I must have just been trying to listen to every single thing associated with Crass records. Anyway, I found it again only just recently and now love it, of course. That's the way these things go. But I can see why I hated it obviously and I can see why you'll probably hate it. This sounds nothing like Crass or really any band that I can think of.
The music is probably usually described as "modern classical" and "avant garde" although we all know the last one is a bit of a cop out. If you like music that's experimental without being stupid or trying too hard to be edgy and amazing, then you might like this. Most of the songs are short and sound like a dream. In fact the entire album sounds to me like one big cloud of many little dreams all strung together. It's a very nice listen if you enjoy the experimentation of Crass but are tired of the basic guitar n drums take on things, screaming and shouting about the human condition and wars and whatnot.
As for what the poems are actually about or why there are even 50 poems? From the man himself:
"These poems, written between 1968 - 1973 are 'songs to my other self,' a self that exists untouched and beyond the social conditioning that gave me a name, a number, an identity and a finite space in time. They describe the profound sense of unity, peace and love that exists within that other self, but in declaring that love I am also declaring battle against those who would pervert and destroy it.
These poems are an expression of my 'revolutionary' purpose, a description of what I know is possible and, because of that knowledge, the reason behind the anger I now feel."
Penny Rimbaud, 1984
Download: Crass-Acts of Love
Penny did another album that was more spoken word (I think) that also featured Eve, called The Death of Imagination. That was more recent, being released in 2001. I've never heard it but I'd suggest you checking it out anyway, if you can. I think Interpunk still sells the CD for $11. Oh if only the store I worked for wasn't going out of business in a week...