Jeffrey Lewis: '12 Crass Songs'

'12 songs by ’70s/’80s Essex protest punk collective Crass'

Comic book creator, travelling troubadour, painter/decorator (probably) and now musical magpie. New York folkbeat operator Jeffrey Lewis’ talents appear without end. He’s full of unlikely turns and on this, his fourth album, he covers 12 songs by ’70s/’80s Essex protest punk collective Crass. Magically, he makes the anarcho-rockers’ anti-establishment savagery his own, by wrapping their barbed sentiments in his trademark mottled tea-towel warmth, autumnal aura and breathless, barren drawl. He ensures Crass’ original wit and spite remains intact in between his acoustic twinkle picking – even with Lewis’ tutelage, songs such as ‘End Result’ and ‘Securicor’ remain wryly amusing and disturbingly relevant nearly three decades on. Forget Superman, Jeffrey Lewis – janitor of contemporary folk – is Supermind.

Greg Cochrane
7 / 10

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