The Cars: Move Like This

Not quite the revival we were hoping for from Ric Ocasek and the boys.  

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

 

The Cars

Move Like This

 

It’s always tough when a legendary rock band of any era gets back together. What makes a band powerful is chemistry, the dynamics between certain people at a certain time. Post break up, especially if enough time passes, it’s no longer a band but rather a bunch of guys playing together. Enter eighties synth-pop giants The Cars who have gotten back together and released their new album Move Like This. While not a bad record at all, Move Like This never quite rises above the idea that The Cars are playing at being The Cars.

 

First, it has to be addressed that this is yet another band that swore a reunion would never happen who is forced to eat crow. Frontman Ric Ocasek made it incredibly clear that a Cars reunion would never happen, which already puts Move Like This into an arena of an album done by old guys with nothing else to do. Secondly, when The Cars started out they were on the cutting edge of a rock/electronic pop movement, a movement that peeked, went away and then returned in full force with bands like The Killers. The Cars can’t rely strictly on the newness of the music and without that Move Like This feels a bit clunky.

 

The palm-muted guitars, the crisp production, the clean “Cars” sound are all front and center. Ric Ocasek’s voice still floats around like the sleepy narrator of a Philip K Dick novel and the rhythms still sound like theme music for Saturday night cruising trying to pick up chicks.  The album opener “Blue Tip” has a tight groove complimented by keyboards that go from catchy to epic. “Keep On Knocking” is a more guitar driven tune, reminiscent of the band’s earlier and less keyboard heavy work.  “Sad Songs” comes off like a newer version of “My Best Friend’s Girl” with just a touch of “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Shake It Up”.

 

Beyond “Sad Songs”, Move Like This falters and stumbles along. The ill advised, Tom Petty sounding, “Drag On Forever” sounds completely out of place and the slow-dance-at-prom vibe of “Take Another Look” contains enough cheese to kill any lactose intolerant person within earshot. The last half of Move Like This plays like the band was on autopilot, as if they suddenly realized they weren’t the same band in the middle of recording. 

 

I wanted so badly for this to be a great record and it just wasn’t. The odd thing is, it could have been. Ric Ocasek has done some tremendous production work with Weezer and Bad Religion and everybody involved here is a consummate musician. If they felt it was time to bring The Cars back, why not push it forward, why not take the sounds of the past and put into something that felt less like an eighties pop cover band. For lack of a better term, why didn’t The Cars shake it up?

 

CRAVE ONLINE RATING 6 OUT OF 10