28 February 2013

Carter USM - 1992 The Love Album



If only this had been my nickname when I was younger...... Anyway, enough of reminiscing. Sometimes things in life get put to the side. It is not because they are no longer relevant, or that you have out grown them - it is just that you get distracted and sometimes you move on without really giving much time for other things.  Back in the early 90's there came a little band called Carter USM, at one more point they were more famous for their t-shirts which out sold their albums. For a brief period they were also the media darlings being on Smash Hits, attacking Philip Schofield (a TV presenter from the UK), signed to a major label, it was just a weird time. If you consider that the band was until just after this release that the band was a 2 piece with a drum machine - so the fact that this album made number one in the UK just shows that 1992 was just a bonkers year.

What you get with this album (as with most Carter USM albums) is some very angry, yet strangely happy indie drum machine music with lyrics that have a large sense of wit and the tongue so firmly in their cheeks it is breaking the skin. This album has their only UK top ten single "The Only Living Boy In New Cross. Well, at least the original does - the re-release has the glories "After The Watershed" which is almost the most perfect song they release.  This album also has a cover.....a song called "The Impossible Dream" from the musical Man of La Mancha. This ends the album in such a weird but glories pace. Also a worthy mention is "While You Were Out" which is just a brilliant slice of British Indie that it could be used to shown some of the new bands how it should be done and that the legendary Ian Dury makes a spoken word appearance on "Skywest & Crooked".

However, as with all Carter USM album there is an Achilles' heels - two on this one if I'm honest. First, you do get a bit of filler on this one (as with the others). Even as a 10 track album, there is a few songs by numbers - "Do, Re, Me, So Far, So Good", "England" we are looking straight at you. Also, it is not the best work they have done. Earlier album such as 101 Damnations & 30 Something were just more fluid, more loveable. It is a record that wants to be loved and taken seriously, but Carter was not supposed to be about that too much. Yes, there was a serious message in there, but it was not the overriding theme.  So is it a bad record?

Well, no. It is a good little album, however when you compare it to their other works it just is not as good. Which is a crying shame in one way, but it also means I have an excuse to listen to their whole back catalogue which is never a bad thing. Maybe this is the best place to start with their first three albums, as it is all uphill from here, and the view from the love album is not too shabby either.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it here (with some extra tracks)

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