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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Clash, The - 1985 Cut The Crap
Clash, The - 1985 Cut The Crap

ARTIST: Clash, The
ALBUM: Cut The Crap
SERIAL: FE 40017
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1994, Legacy, EK 66419 * 2000, Columbia, 495350 2


LINEUP: Joe Strummer - vocals * Vince White - guitars * Nick Sheppard - guitars * Paul Simonon - bass * Pete Howard - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dictator * 02 Dirty Punk * 03 We Are The Clash * 04 Are You Red.. Y * 05 Cool Under Heat * 06 Movers And Shakers * 07 This Is England * 08 Three Card Trick * 09 Play To Win * 10 Fingerpoppin' * 11 North And South * 12 Life Is Wild


When considering The Clash's legendary output, this would definitely be the least expected place to start, especially considering their previous five albums contain some of the greatest rock ever produced. By 1985 however, guitarist and founding member Mick Jones had left, leaving Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon as the sole members from the original lineup. On reflection the loss of Jones was insurmountable, his guitar work and songwriting so influential in the band's sound. The band carried on with two new guitarists, Vince White and Nick Sheppard, along with drummer Pete Howard. The result was an album which barely recognized The Clash of old, to the point it was almost laughable - though in a good way. Legend has it 'Cut The Crap' was originally a raw return to the bands 70's punk roots, something Strummer had insisted on following 1982's 'Combat Rock'. However the bands manager Bernard Rhodes tampered with the album, leaving it almost the complete opposite of what it was intended to be. Therefore the album is littered with blatant synthesizers and huge chanted choruses on almost every track, making it almost an exercise in melodic rock.

The Songs
The confusion is compounded by the admittedly heavy guitar work, where you can tell how much tougher the album might have been if left alone. The addition of drum machines is laughable too. A Case in point is opening track 'Dictator', which is cluttered with endless parping synths, and constant South American sound bytes that conflict with whatever Strummer is singing about. 'Dirty Punk' is an obvious attempt to recapture the grit of the 1977 debut and does a reasonably good job. By 1985 though it was obvious The Clash's moment had gone.There's some good material on offer elsewhere, regardless of the stylistic confusion. 'This is England' is the albums only remembered track, a trademark Clash anthem capturing England's state of disillusion at the time. I prefer the synthesized likes of 'Are You Red.. Y', which pushes the keyboards to overload. It's an obvious attempt at commercial rock, but sounds more like the soundtrack to a sporting compilation. Another classic is 'Movers and Shakers', which again shows how confused this album is. Starting out in the verses the song could pass melodically as a song from 'Give 'Em Enough Rope'. But when the chorus hits it turns into some kind of carnival karaoke, with crude synths and a chant that could pass for something heard in a football ground. It almost has to be heard to be believed. Sheppard takes lead vocals on the excellent 'North And South', again littered with keyboards, watering down a great melody. There's a nod to reggae as usual, 'Do It Now' combining that style with another ludicrous chant from the band. 'Cool Under Heat' sounds like an unfinished demo, the production a mess, as does the near high-tech AOR arrangements of the mostly spoken word 'Play To Win'. That isn't an exaggeration either. For that matter you can throw 'Fingerpoppin' 'into the same category. Is this Duran Duran?

In Summary
Needless to say this album was greeted with universal disdain, to the point it was barely considered a legitimate Clash album. Time seems to have changed opinions slightly on the merits of the album though and rightfully so, with more praise showered on it some 27 years later than it ever received at the time. I still can't help but think they should have changed their name before releasing this, as without Jones it wasn't the same band. The music is undeniably melodic and the synth overkill has a certain charm, but it just wasn't The Clash anymore. It gets my recommendation nonetheless.

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#1 | gdazegod on March 03 2012 12:38:42
Err hmm.. unusual choice for melodic rock.. Not unlike the Cockney Rejects review.. You are full of surprises Alun.. Thumbs Up
#2 | Eric on March 03 2012 13:16:22
I remember liking the single 'Train In Vain (Stand By Me)' but absolutely despising 'Rock The Casbah'. I don't remember seeing (or hearing) this one...
#3 | Traveller in time on March 03 2012 22:47:30
I loved 'London Calling' from 1979:-)
#4 | reyno-roxx on March 04 2012 12:12:09
I much prefer the Sex Pistols and a number of other bands from this era, but like a bit of Clash on the Death Deck on occasion....think I'll ask Geoff B to put The Clash on the cover of the next AOR mag yearbook...that'll send more than a few posters on other forums exploding with uncontrolled keyboard fury! He He :0)
#5 | gdazegod on March 04 2012 12:23:44
My favourite band around the new wave/punk era were The Only Ones. Peter Perrett.. 'Another Girl Another Planet'.. anyone?
#6 | Eric on March 04 2012 13:45:21
I have The Only Ones debut- punky power pop and good! Spooky Tooth related. I dunno, when I first heard the Sex Pistols I was disappointed after all the hype. I did like PIL and the Pistol's 90s reunion had its moments. I much prefered the post punk stuff like early Ultravox and Simple Minds, Tubeway Army, XTC, Magazine, The Sound and others.
#7 | code4 on September 30 2015 14:08:44
Another Girl, Another Planet was good alright! One of the few bands from my teen years that i still have time for 'The Replacements' did a great rough and raw live cover of that song (it was on an ep or maybe a b-side- i fail to remember where it originally appeared, but is pretty easy to hear on youtube etc). How about their friendly ode and piss take of Bob Dylan with their cover of Like A Rolling Stone that they re-titled 'Like a rolling Pin'. Absolute GOLD. If we can have a Clash album here we can have a Replacements one? I still think 'Let it Be' is quite a masterpiece even if my wife always says when i play it.. 'But his voice is often going out of tune...this is completely against the sort of music you like!'. But wife, so called AOR music lovers are not merely snobs who think that high technical talent is a must for music to be great, it is just that we don't like the 2-bit opinion of many rock critics (and rock fans for that matter) that technical talent = no soul by default.
Hey the band even flirted with AOR sound on their rather disliked 'Don't Tell A soul ' album with songs like 'Anywhere's Better than Here'. Unfortunately some of that album gives me nightmares about what 'MOR' is though. In my mind the antithesis of AOR hahaha. What those vehement AOR hating rockers you encounter thesedays move onto when they get old, and just as they deserve to!

As for the Clash (sorry to have gone completely inexcusably off track!) I have all their albums on cd except 'Give Em' Enough Rope' (don't like it) and 'Sandinista' (one song on that even has the lyric 'No AOR in Hitsville!'). I think 'London Calling' while it has some very good songs no doubt is an overrated album while my favourite studio album is the rather unpopular choice of 'Combat Rock'. Perhaps my absolute favourite clash cd though is 'Super Black Market Clash'- an expanasion of their 1980 EP 'Black Market Clash'. Their instrumental version of their song 'The Call up' which here is titled 'The Cool Out' is pure gold (my favourite clash cut EVER) as is their instrumental cover 'Time is Tight' pretty great. Also this cd is where you will find the non-album single 'This is Radio Clash' along with some other cool remixes of songs like 'Bank Robber' and others from the latter period such as 'Rock The Casbah' with half of the lyrics removed.
And yes, I also am a little fond of some of 'Cut the Crap' and am glad to see it here. Great review. Another good band of the post punk movement? Early to mid period Husker Du, before they signed to warner brothers. It would be great to see Zen Arcade (Husker Du) and Let It Be (The Replacements) on Glory daze but i am not sure many would agree. In fact i'm out of here before my id and ip gets landed with a lifetime ban!
#8 | gdazegod on September 30 2015 14:20:17
lol Code 4.. haha!
#9 | Explorer on September 30 2015 15:20:07
There`s nothing wrong with The Replacements. Paul Westerberg is a great songwriter. His first solo album '14 songs' is brilliant piece of work.
#10 | Nick C on September 30 2015 23:20:12
Gotta agree like a bit o Westerberg. Even his 'lo-fi' albums have some great songs on.
#11 | code4 on October 02 2015 03:16:36
ok that's it. I'm telling all my friends about glorydaze music via group email. I think this may be the straw the breaks the camels back
#12 | gdazegod on October 02 2015 03:25:01
Go for it Dave!
#13 | Eric on October 02 2015 04:19:23
London Calling and Sandinista are wonderful albums and groundbreaking really as are the B.A.D albums which I enjoyed very much way back when. There's always been that punk crossover when it comes to 78-81 power pop. I am quite the curmudgeon tonight aren't I? Long week, nighty night.
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