Carter songs tend to fall into two baskets. One lot are slower, orchestrally backed (samples, not the real thing), almost spoken word and typically very sarcastic, layered with one pun after another. The rest of them are much faster, punk-pop numbers with spitting vocals and crunchy guitars.
It all falls down when one style no longer entertains. That’s pretty much what happens here. The rocky numbers are still fun and energising, particularly Airplane Food/Airplane Fast Food, and Senile Delinquent.
But the slow tunes just drag the album down. The puns seem laboured, the sentiments forced. They also serve to increase the pressure on the high tempo efforts. For example, Let’s Get Tattoos seems overly cliched.
The nail in the coffin is the band’s noddling around on the last two meandering tracks. Both are over 6 minutes long, and neither leaves any impression beyond frustration.
Alas, this was to be my last Carter purchase – quite understandably. As with Billy Bragg, it seems I’ve lost one album (their debut) to the Great Cassette Purge of 2001. I’ll have to find a digital copy somewhere.
File under: Defusing a career