Some might say that the true talent of a band is proven by the quality of their b-sides. Because while one may get the noisome wastes of time in Blur's flip-side back-catalogue, other bands like Suede can release b-side compilations (ala Sci-Fi Lullabies) that surpass most any other competing band's proper efforts. Carter: The Unstoppable Sex Machine's schizo-electro-pop-punk Starry Eyed and Bollock Naked nimbly falls into the latter category. Even when it starts off with young band jitters. From the Atari 2600-like drum machine sounds in early tracks "Is This The Only Way To Get Through To You?" or "Twin Tub With Guitar" (with a sample of lead singer Jim Bob's own washing machine), they demonstrate how Carter were still unsure of how to incorporate a "two guys and a no drummer" setup. Until years later. "Her Song," for instance, takes fist-pumping punk into such a charming crash of manufactured beats that one learns what it would sound like if The Sex Pistols, house music, and naïve genius all clashed together. Nearly every b-side improves upon the one before it too. The muted bass-engine of "Watching The Big Apple Turn Over" pushes along a melancholic song of television bibles and ambulance chases, while "Bring On The Girls" follows a three-stage ignition of such cathartic anti-sexism that one vows never to watch another of the song's lambasted Lionel Ritchie videos. The fact that the majority of these songs were consistently played in the band's live sets certainly indicated the band's pride in their inherent strengths. Why not? By the album's end, Carter also cover one of their own songs and stick on the sweltering, utterly unparalleled "Glam Rock Cops" for good measure. True talent is surely exposed. One of the best releases by the band, Starry Eyed and Bollock Naked is a collection of wonderfully original, reasonably unknown, amazingly lyrical achievements that will make any other band's "b-side = filler" history cause them to blush in justified shame.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson