Review : The Cars - Move Like This
PopmattersIf you’re looking to like Move Like This, the Cars’ first album in nearly a quarter century, the album offers enough to suit you. First of all, and this is the main thing, it sounds like the Cars. The Cars you love for their string of unforgettable early-to-mid 1980s hits, not the band that petered out in 1987 with the half-hearted Door to Door. The snappy rhythms, the eighth-note staccato guitar, the analog synths, the handclaps—it’s all here.
There are some good songs, too. “Blue Tip” takes that familiar sound and adds an extra layer of twitchy nervous energy. “Too Late” gives you a tour of the entire Cars oeuvre, while adding something worthy to it. The track starts as a spacey, cosmic ballad, and then that whip-smart rhythm kicks in. David Robinson’s booming drum fill introduces the chorus, which features the rich backing vocals and heavier power chords that are also Cars calling cards. “Free” hits you with the herky-jerky chord changes that launched 100 indie bands’ careers. Even the drippy, synth-heavy ballad “Soon” is a worthy sequel to “Drive”, as Ric Ocasek does a great job paying homage to late Cars bassist/co-vocalist Benjamin Orr, who died of cancer in 2000. You could argue Move Like This is the most purely Cars-sounding Cars album since Shake It Up in 1981.
The Cars have been described as an American version of Roxy Music, a comparison that doesn’t make much sense until you realize that both bands’ brands of future-retro romanticism could have been developed in a laboratory, and that this was not a condemnation but a good thing, indeed. It allowed for the classicism of the songwriting to exist without sounding self-serious, and for the experimental, even devious nature of the bands to exist under cover of that very same songwriting. In other words, it made for easy singalong fun that was just too elegant to be throwaway. This brand of music, though, is by its very nature youthful. That’s just the sound the Cars and early Roxy Music produced. Bryan Ferry realized and accepted this fact, and gradually remade Roxy Music into a more traditionally romantic, adult-oriented pop band. Ocasek, who like Ferry wrote almost all his band’s material, seemed to realize it too, and split the Cars up....full text
RollingstoneThere are moments when Move Like This, the first new album by the Cars in 24 years, sounds so much like a Record by the Cars that you find yourself laughing out loud. Take "Sad Song," on which the opening salvo — a terse guitar strum set against the machinelike thwack of snare drum and hand claps — is such a note-perfect evocation of the band's vintage attack that it almost plays like winking self-parody. Ronald Reagan was mired in the Iran-Contra scandal when Ric Ocasek and Co. released their last studio album; Benjamin Orr, the Cars' bassist and co-lead singer, died of pancreatic cancer in 2000. But the Cars haven't moved their music an inch. This is the sound of a band picking up a conversation in midsentence....full text
SpinOn their first studio album since 1987, these re-formed new-wavers (minus late bassist Benjamin Orr) eerily replicate the synth-slicked pop-rock that drove them to superstardom. Palm-muted guitar and on-the-upbeat handclaps? "Sad Song" practically screams, "Let's go!" Yet compared to the band's clever early hits, the songwriting too often lapses into clunkiness: "You're my lover and forever my friend," Ric Ocasek sings over the prom schmaltz of "Soon." "When I touch you I never want it to end." Not exactly what anybody needed....full text
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