Review Summary: Cars’ indistinguishable but modern production of “Move Like This” acts as a bridge to their accomplished history and showcases their ability to strike fans with vintage bliss.
To say that fans have all been waiting for the release of a new Cars album would just be deceitful. We’ve all been stuck listening to “Door To Door” along with the slue of Cars records – reminiscing of those times knowing they would never happen again.
The Cars came to be America’s definitive new-wave super pack characterized by influential fragile synth-pop. Their last massive splash came at Live Aid in 1985 when their single, Drive, was featured on one of the montages for famine sufferers. Less than three years later the Cars were no more and front man Ric Ocasek ironically stated that there would be no possibility that his band would ever join forces again.
Now almost a quarter of a century later the Cars are back with “Move Like This,” their latest release since “Door To Door” in 1987. The real question is have the Cars’ charm lost the fight against their hiatus or have they come out of this fight victorious and their music unharmed? “Move Like This” puts you back about thirty years at the height of their career. The latest release picks up were the Cars left off; unscathed by the death of co-lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr in 2000 – all the remaining members are back! And back with the Cars’ characteristic poppy rock perfectly mixed with synthesizers and undeniably infectious hooks.
Why tuck away their charm now? Their hits are still dominating the radio and have influenced generations of canny pop rocker acts, acting as their teachers on concocting the perfect brew of synthesizer and guitar, pop turned tastefully threatening as rock and making rock as melodically sweet as candy. Their hits “Drive” and “Just What I Needed” showcase where these young acts have attained their craft.
There’s nothing like the Cars’ first new single, “Sad Song” which solidifies these rocker veterans’ prowess – the handclaps along with the short lived guitar strums juxtaposed with power snare drum strikes are Cars’ trademarks and showcase their vintage craft.
The Cars’ flawless adroitness is transparent on the self-produced (along with Jacknife Lee) “Move Like This.” Opening with the jittery “Blue Tip” and the bittersweet-layered breakup track “Too Late” scream classic Cars – blank vocals, Elliot Easton’s stretched guitar riffs and the screeching keyboards tunes courtesy of Greg Hawkes. The groovy and somewhat hard rock “Keep On Knockin’” is new territory for the Cars – not to mention the mystifying metal guitar solo.
This time around, Ocasek – filling in for Oar – adds a darker shade for the path of the Cars, on tracks like “Take Another Look” and “Sad Song.” The Cars’ sentimental but energetic side can undoubtedly be seen on “Soon” and “Take Another Look.” The Cars surprise and surprise with their ability to contain their characteristic sound on “Free,” a track with jarring but rhythmic synths.
Cars’ indistinguishable but modern production of “Move Like This” acts as a bridge to their accomplished history and showcases their ability to strike fans with vintage bliss. Yet with an darkly romantic album that bolts by, avid fans are left with awe but predominantly a black shimmer – solidifying that they still have it (and more albums) in them…