"You win some, and you lose some," Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine once wrote, "and I've lost the will to lose." Maybe they were wrong. After exactly ten years of striving for impossible dreams, creating worrying chart bombs, and -- in general -- becoming more and more the virulent court jester that the mad kingdom fails to listen to, Jim Bob and Fruitbat finally decided to call it quits. In this regard, I Blame the Government is a flawed farewell to one of the most unruly and beautiful bands to ever come out of Britain. Which is why it's difficult to dismiss the album even when it slogs off into mediocrity. For starters, by this time the band was fleshed out to a full seven members, but this seemed to do more harm than good to Carter's sound. Intended explosions (such as "Citizen's Band Radio") are surely fine songs, yet one can't help but feel that they're lacking a certain arsenic oomph that the "let the drum machine go loony" attempts of the past held onto so well. It's fair to point out that handicapped production problems didn't help. Poor funding and home-based recording resulted in a sound that often feels just frustratingly half there. However, as marvelous songs like the summery "Sunshine" or the storming "Growing Old Disgracefully" help prove, production aesthetics weren't at the heart of the dilemma. After all, when the band kept the songwriting quality high, low limitations couldn't do a thing to stop them. "23:59 End of the World" -- the album's true pinnacle - exemplifies this: a brave stab at packaged pre-millennia and self-fulfilling prophecy done so in a sparse keyboard-driven manner that is both precise and haltingly emotional. It's a shame that the rest of the album isn't as affecting. Because with such overall inconsistency, I Blame the Government stands somewhat as a triumphant loss. Not the highest mark a band can end on (Carter should've kept it in storage and capped off their entire discography with Post Historic Monsters' "Suicide Isn't Painless"), but a steadfast goodbye. Remember, Carter bowed out when they wanted to, leaving behind a ten year volume of vitriol and piss-takes. For better or worse, there will never be another band like them. They may have been furious, they may have still known how to fiddle with the heartstrings, yet their incessant bad luck only made them stronger. Carter was definitely not having a good time, all the time. But maybe that was for the best?
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AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson