THE CARS – Move Like This (2011)

THE CARS - Move Like This (2011)

It’s been almost a quarter century since the last studio album from the Cars, yet they’ve never really gone away.
Turn the radio on in any US city and you’re bound to hear their music: classic rock, adult contemporary, even alternative stations still have them in heavy rotation.
The band’s music has been featured in commercials (Circuit City was just one company that used “Just What I Needed” to great effect), in video games (Rock Band), and even in the music of newer acts taking them as strong influence.

The reason for this wide appeal has always been the band’s uncanny ability to mix mainstream rock with the avant-garde.
With all this popularity, it makes sense that we would eventually see the Cars resurface.
For “Move Like This”, their seventh album, the group has been reduced to a quartet with the passing in 2000 of bassist / vocalist Benjamin Orr, whose voice graced many of their biggest songs, including ‘Drive’, ‘Moving in Stereo’ and ‘Just What I Needed’.
The band chose not to bring in an outsider, instead having keyboardist Greg Hawkes handle the bass duties together with Jack Lee as guest.

The album opens with “Blue Tip” — the simple guitar riff, driving beat and vintage synthesizer signals that the Cars may have aged, but their sound is still intact. And amazingly, Ric Ocasek’s voice hasn’t lost any of the qualities that made him one of the most unique singers in rock.
Despite having a huge gap in their catalog, the band sounds completely at ease in their sound. None of the ten tracks are direct copies of their older material; instead many of the songs have hints of the past.
“Sad Song”, the record’s first single, has guitar and handclaps that recall ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’, before morphing into a shimmering chorus.
“Free” with its frenetic rhyming scheme and insistent riff sounds the most like their earliest work, while “Too Late” is very melodic, and could’ve easily fit on ‘Heartbeat City’.
Of the two ballads, “Soon” has a lullaby quality, while “Take Another Look” is the better of the two, with its pulsating keyboards.
There’s even an all-out rocker in “Keep on Knocking”.
Not surprising, it’s Hawkes’ clever synth lines that help keep things interesting – he always was their secret weapon.

Musically, “Move Like This” makes it feel as if no time has passed since 1987’s ‘Door to Door’.
The synth-slicked pop-rock that drove them to superstardom is intact and Ocasek’s perfectly timed sharp vocals fall right in line with the harmonies, edgy synth and harder drum beats.
Longtime fans (like me) and every ’80s freak will love this album.
As in all good Cars’ records, “Move Like This” races by at a lean 37 minutes, begging for the repeat button.
A long-overdue, but triumphant return.

1 – Blue Tip
2 – Too Late
3 – Keep On Knocking
4 – Soon
5 – Sad Song
6 – Free
7 – Drag On Forever
8 – Take Another Look
9 – It’s Only
10 – Hits Me

Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Elliot Easton – lead guitar, background vocals
Greg Hawkes – keyboards, bass, background vocals
David Robinson – drums
Additional musicians:
Jacknife Lee – bass

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3 Responses

  1. Rayvee says:

    I played my copy quite a few times now, and I still haven't warmed up to it. The lack of Easton's guitar solos is really ruining the enjoyment for me. However, I agree that it's a decent release. I just expected more. 🙂

  2. 0dayrock says:

    @ Rayvee :
    Yes, I miss Elliot's solos as well, one of the most underrated guitar slinguers ever.
    According to the press release, he has recorded here.
    Anyway, this is a more than decent return in my opinion. Love this band.

  3. Rayvee says:

    Thanks for this. I'm picking my store copy up at lunch to-day, but I took a listen to your upload to get a sneak peak at the album. Does Elliot Easton even play on this? There's few to none guitar solos on here, which was one of the band's trademarks, along with the quirky vocals and keyboard sounds. Many songs sound very similiar also; there's little variety over 38 minutes. Ben Orr is sadly missed also. A decent release, but a far cry from their heyday.

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