Tuesday , December 5 2023
If this CD doesn't break The Clarks nationally, it won't be the music's fault. All the goods are here.

The Clarks: Fast Moving Cars

Friendly, artful pop-rock is a deceptively tough style to pull off. Pittsburgh stalwarts The Clarks manage it nicely, thanks to a happy combination of strong songwriting, chunky riffs, rich harmonies and earnest but unpretentious lead vocals.

The CD is front-loaded with three of its best songs. The opening track is an ode to the open road (The Clarks aren’t reinventing any wheels, so to speak, with their subject matter) while “Anymore” and “Shimmy Low” celebrate cutting loose from bad relationships and personal demons. All three songs have superb radio-friendly hooks. “Wait a Minute” shows they can write a catchy mid-tempo ballad too, even if the words don’t make too much sense.

Most of the rest are in the same vein but weaker, though the band’s knack for melody never abandons them. Even their less nimble numbers please the ear thanks to sweet harmonies and optimally dense production.

“Fast Moving Cars,” a sparkling, James Taylor-esque folk-rocker, varies the formula and shows the band’s versatility. On the other hand, although Scott Blasey’s voice at times sounds a bit like Billie Joe Armstrong’s, “You Know Everything” proves that The Clarks are not at their best trying to punk out like Green Day. “Gypsy Lounge,” a 1960s-style jangle-rocker (think The Zombies or America), is much better. And the CD closes with the Dylan-esque “Train,” an emotional story of going off to war which evinces the band’s deeper side.

If this CD doesn’t break The Clarks nationally, it won’t be the music’s fault. All the goods are here.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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