Genre/Influences: Apocalyptic-rock, industrial-punk, experimental-jazz.
Background/Info: Penny Rimbaud was one of the creative minds behind punk-legend Crass. The band was active in between the late 70s and 1984. Like most of the British punk bands they showed a so-called anarchistic attitude and political engagement. One of the last Crass albums “Yes Sir, I Will”, was a violent reaction against the Falklands conflict.
More than 30 years later (in 2014), Penny Rimbaud was asked to participate in the “Rebellion Festival”, a yearly punk gathering held in Blackpool, UK. Realizing that the opening date of the festival closely coincided with that of the euphemistically named ‘Great War’, Rimbaud and the festival organizers agreed that as an appropriate response they should open the event with a very personal re-interpretation of “Yes, Sir, I Will”. This album is a real special live recording.
Content: The original work, which was into pure punk music, has been seriously reworked. Next to Penny Rimbaud this album features Crass singer Eve Libertine plus different musicians Rimbaud has worked together during the past years. The original songs have been readapted into a mix of rock, punk, industrial and jazz music. The original aggression of the work has been transposed into a more peaceful approach with John Lennon’s “All You Need Is Love” in mind.
It’s totally weird and especially the opening piece, which is a free adaptation from “My Generation” originally written by The Who. Quite progressively the songs are moving from apocalyptic-rock into industrial-punk to finally reach a surprising industrial-jazz style. It still sounds anarchistic, but still original and featuring great neo-classic passages played by cello, guitar, sax, bass and drums.
There’s a cool complementary between the male and female vocals while some passages are into a pure narrative style.
+ + + : If you go back to the original Crass album and you next discover the work of Penny Rimbaud’s L’Académie Des Vanités you can only, but agree that this album is a masterpiece. There’s a real genius mix between all different influences, which makes it totally original. I also like the live spirit supporting the entire work.
– – – : Crass die-hard freaks will be shocked by hearing Penny Rimbaud experimenting with jazz, but in the end we’re all getting older and simply evolve. It definitely is a weird concept, which I can imagine will not convince all punk lovers or industrial addicts.
Conclusion: Reworking Crass with John Lennon in mind while taking off with a free adaptation of The Who sounds like a masterpiece by a surrealist painter. But it sounds damn great!
Best songs: “Section 5”, “Section 9, “Section 7”, “Section 1”.