"I think that one of the things easily overlooked in this album is the many facinating ways the music is woven together. It's easy to let the ranting and the compelling anger overwhelm the ear and emotions. But listen a little more closely and you can hear some very complex sound collage going on. Further, every line and riff tend to intensify the feeling of rage. That anyone could sustain the liberating catharsis of sarcastic anger for nearly 40 minutes is a rare accomplishment. Not even Rage Against the Machine can come close. This album stands as a major artistic accomplishment within the punk ethos. Not only that, It ROCKS to it's own eccentric marching-through-Hell beat. Penis Envy is also the perfect teenage antidote to the incessant media barrage of bulemic, anorexia-inducing imagery that girls amd young women are subjected to. To say that this album is a true rock classic is almost inadequate. It's a stirring social and artistic document, full of rage, passion and angry wisdom."
System! System! System!
Chet Fakir | DC | 06/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only Crass album to exclusively feature the Crass women on vocals (mostly Eve Libertine with some Joy deVivre) Thats a great benefit to the listener as the lyrics are for the first time completely intelligible (Steve Ignorant often sang as though his mouth was filled with cotton) This is an extremely angry, intelligent, thought provoking album and lyrically is everything anarchist rock should be (antimaterialist, feminist, and scathing in its assement of society, its power structure and norms) The music however is not typical punk rock but is much more self-conscious and artistically mature, mixing elements of krautrock, free improv, punk, spoken word, etc. Its rythmically unswinging yet dense and complex: the guitars are used more for texture and rythym than melody, tape and vocal effects abound and the songs have a greater dynamic range than on previous albums. Crass obviously really tried to hone and expand on their original (and noisy) sound. Some of these songs: "What the F...?" and "Where Next Columbus" still give me chills down my spine. Odd, angry and original. Their best work."
Amazing lyrics and energy
PSM/Bokor | United States | 11/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It had been well over 16 years, since I had listened to this album. Recently, I bought the cd. "Penis Envy" remains as powerful and relevant today as when it was first released. The lyrics are exceeding intelligent and challenge the listener to THINK. I appreciate CRASS more as an adult living within the "System" than I did as a teenage punk with the bad haircut and a continual desire to piss in the wind.Most likely, only a true connoisseur of punk music will enjoy this cd. However, I highly recommend "Penis Envy" to anyone who doesn't need snappy little choruses in their music and doesn't mind a little discord. If you like Flipper's "Generic Album," I believe you'll love this cd."
Classic feminist punk
Shala Kerrigan | Anchorage | 01/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like Crass a lot and other reviewers this is hands down my favorite album. Musically it's tighter than a most punk from late 70s- early 80s with a more finished and fuller sound than is normal for anarchist punk. The lyrics are angry, thoughtful and still have a very valid message since it's not specifically political, instead it's social statements about things that haven't changed nearly enough yet so it's still very relevant. The lyrics don't just question gender expectation but challenge it to a throwdown cage match. When I'm introducing friends to punk, this is one of the first albums I pull out. Favorite songs- the whole album. Really, this is one of those albums I'll listen to start to finish instead of just picking out a few songs off of it. To say only people who like punk will like this album isn't quite true. My husband didn't know any punk when we got together and this was his favorite out of my collection because it's high energy and well done."
An anarchist classic
Amazonian | San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA United States | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This anarchist band from Britain has had more than their share of passionate, remarkable records to its credit, combining challenging lyrics with a unique punk style. Their debut, The Feeding of the 5000, still sounds fresh and immediate, and every word still rings true. The same can be said about Penis Envy. and perhaps to an even greater degree.
Crass are still influential today - twenty years after their breakup. It's possoble that Penis Envy may be their best album. This is punk, not hardcore, and every track is challenging; a few, like "Poison in a Pretty Pill," are completely surprising. It's difficult to describe, but while many other bands seem to talk around important issues, this band's passion comes from someting closer to commitment. Many moments of this record are still arresting. It brims with intelligence and a spirit of challenge. It bears mentioning that Penis Envy is the band's only 100% female vocal album, and each of the songs has a special sound unlike you've heard from this band before. These topics are rarely touched upon in modern songwriting.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about describing Penis Envy comes from trying to convey its completely unique sound; this isn't your garden-variety R'n'B oriented punk, and the Pistols and Clash aren't relevant to the debate. Some might find it difficult to get used to the songs at first, and short sound samples don't do justice to their fascinating song structures.
Penis Envy has earned a place on my list of very favorite punk CDs - and I can assure you that there's lots of good competition."