Take Your Elbows off the Table

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Schwartzeneggar weren't around for very long and only put out two CDs, but it was some of the best material Steve Ignorant, formerly of Crass, ever committed to record. Schwartzeneggar were arguably more interesting than Ignorant's subsequent band, the Stratford Mercenaries, who were average in comparison. Of this band's two releases, Take Your Elbows Off the Table is the better one. Perhaps it's the keyboards, or the artist's thoughtful, depressive lyrics, or the structure of these songs, which feature big, guitar riffs, but much of this album has an epic sound to it, something lost in most contemporary punk. Crass had a bit of that, and it was a major feature in Conflict's music. (Ignorant sang for Conflict for a short while after Crass broke up.) On "Goodbye to All That" and "Child of the Times," Ignorant has written some poetic essays about emptiness and callousness and set them to stirring music. Musically, many of these songs are as uplifting as some of Crass' best material. Only the title cut is tedious. Most of these songs were originally released as 7" singles, but this EP sums up the band well and clocks in at a perfect 24-minute length.