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Music Review: The Cars – Move Like This

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The road back was never going to be a smooth one. Nearly a quarter of a century had elapsed between the recent reunion of The Cars and the band’s last studio album. Benjamin Orr, its bassist and the voice behind its biggest hit, “Drive,” succumbed to cancer in 2000. Then there was the ill-fated New Cars debacle, featuring Todd Rundgren in place of singer/rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, which met with dismal album sales and critical indifference.

And yet however much skepticism such factors may give to those prior to listening to Move Like This (Concord Music) is all but forgotten once its opening track, “Blue Tip,” kicks in with a sound that is at once familiar yet futuristic, boasting the sort of quirky vibe and irresistible hooks that are quintessential to the music of The Cars. With Ocasek having returned to the fold — the line-up is rounded out by all-original members Elliot Easton (lead guitar), David Robinson (drums), and Greg Hawkes (keyboards), who also handled the bass parts in deference to Orr — the band has not only recaptured the spirit they brandished on such albums as Candy-O and Heartbeat City, but has also cooked up one heck of a snap-crackle-and-popping good time. Thick, grunge-spiked riffs in cuts like “Drag On Forever” and “Keep On Knocking” scruff up the predominant slickness with a bit of dissonance in just the right spots. While the shadowy ballad, “Soon,” delivers the most stirring, poignant moment on what is an all-around outstanding album and a most-welcome return of old friends. Let the good times roll, indeed.


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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.
  • One of my faves of the year, even if it’s not a good year in music. It sounds fresh yet also like they never took a hiatus.

  • Kit O’Toole

    Awesome! I’ll have to pick this up. Incidentally, I saw Greg Hawkes perform at a Fest for Beatles Fans a couple of years ago (he played on a couple of Paul’s albums), and got to meet him. What a nice guy! He’s also a mean ukulele player.

  • Agreed! With everyone seeming to reunite these days and as merely not much more than a nostalgic act, it’s good to see The Cars back and actually making impressive new music in 2011 when they could just as well have just gone on a greatest hits tour (and only debut one new song or two along the way).

  • Jon acup

    This CD is awesome.The cars were one of the bands I grew up with. Saw them in the 80’s at the Fourm in Inglewood Ca. They sound just as great as they did them. Looking forward to more from them and to see them live with my wife ASAP