The press slated them; the public started to ignore them. So Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine named their next album after a selection in a Martin Amis short story and sang, "You and whose army/Are gonna stop us now?" Few bands could handle such derision this deftly. For one, Worry Bomb begins like most Carter albums end. The crisp piano keys and sudden onslaught of string-washed drums are so stalwart that "Cheap 'n' Cheesy" quickly becomes one of the best songs ever put out by the Carter boys. For another, the rest of the album gets better. "Airplane Food/Airplane Fast Food" is a classic punk-pop update as it leaps from huge bullets of energy to subtle chides against modern "punk" bands for yelling and screaming about nothing. Self-referential panache indeed. Followed by such a radiant beast of the instantly infectious "Young Offender's Mum" or the whispering gem of the sincerely heartbreaking "My Defeatist Attitude," there is also no doubt that this album is firing on all cylinders. More, only somebody who truly hates pop cunning could write off the cheeky "Senile Delinquent" (with lines like, "I'm a f*cking senile delinquent/Delinquent with a capital D/For services to serious drinking/I should get an O.B.E.") or the shouting unity of "Let's Get Tattoos." It's only after such fantastic punk rock singalongs that the album becomes a bit desperate. "God, Saint Pete and the Guardian Angel" or "The Only Looney Left in Town" are loud, frayed, and ungainly. Here, Jim Bob's vocals start to spatter even as the unsubtle, anti-gun soliloquy of "Ceasefire" tries to close off the album with usual Carter style. These later tracks sound like a band in fear of their own creative slide...and it's not a pleasant experience. Because after so many years of stellar releases, this is just about the first time the band's sense of strict quality control seems to have started to wane. Which marks a new step for Carter. Regardless of newfound failings, they strut mostly exuberant songwriting and superb "punk/pop/rock/dance/whatever-you-got" good humor in the face of an indifferent world. Yes, Worry Bomb is not the best Carter can do, but it's still an album of such confidence, wit, and ingenuity that any musician would want to stand out against the sky hoping to feel its explosion.
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AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson