It’s been a while since we’ve heard from The Cars as a group. Sure we had The New Cars in 2006 with Todd Rundgren filling in for Ric Ocasek and playing The Cars greatest hits in a live show. That album also had some nice singles but it was missing both Ric Ocasek and drummer David Robinson. In fact the last time Ric Ocasek, David Robinson, Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes played on a Cars album was on 1987’s Door to Door. At that time Benjamin Orr, one of The Cars primary songwriters, vocalist and bass player was alive and well. Sadly Benjamin Orr passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2000.
A Cars reunion was unexpected because of Ocasek and Robinson’s unwillingness to play The Cars hits live and quotes from Ocasek vowing never to reunite The Cars. With the passing of Benjamin Orr all Cars fans knew that a true reunion could never be. Still, we had 4 vital musicians with an excellent songwriter and front-man in Ocasek doing solo work and playing classic Cars tunes. Finally, the remaining members must have seen the light and they reunited in 2010 to record a new album titled “Move Like This“.
“Move Like This” is a Cars album in every sense. It has the quirky keyboards, heavy guitars and rock solid drums that make The Cars sound unique. Ocasek’s voice sounds young and strong even though there is a definite absence without the vocals of Benjamin Orr. Still, the album is full of vocal harmonies as well as lush keyboard layerings. I didn’t know that Greg Hawkes played bass guitar as well as keyboards but he is credited in the album liner notes with bass guitar work on the album. That being said, I hear more bass keyboards than bass guitar. That’s okay because it’s still The Cars sound.
The guitars are rich and full on the entire album with Ocasek and Easton’s guitar work complimenting each other nicely. Greg Hawkes is again credited with some guitar work on the album. I sure would like to know which songs he is playing guitar on but the liner notes don’t’ say. The drumming by Robinson is very tight and powerful although it sounds like a drum machine is employed on a couple of the tracks.
Half of the album’s tracks are produced by Jacknife Lee and the other half are produced by The Cars. You can definitely tell a difference in the production quality of the different tracks. Those produced by Jacknife are a bit more polished and have a more robust albeit compressed sound. The tracks produced by The Cars sound a little thinner and don’t have quite the depth in the musical arrangement as the Jacknife Lee produced tracks.
All songwriting credits go to Ric Ocasek and there are some excellent songs on this album. The most noteable tracks are “Blue Tip”, “Sad Song” and “Soon”. Both “Blue Tip” and “Sad Song” just rock like classic Cars hits with a hard, fast beat and strong playing by all members of The Cars. “Soon” hearkens back to The Cars’ mid-80’s sound which was prominent on the Heartbeat City album. All Cars fans are sure to love these songs.
There are some weaker songs on the album and I really miss having the other band members contribute songwriting on the album. Having Benjamin Orr around to contribute a song or two would have really helped balance out Ocasek’s writing but that’s impossible of course. Still, you have to give Ric credit for giving us 10 songs with three of the those songs having major hit potential.
If you’re a Cars fan then you have to buy The Cars -Move Like This. It will bring back memories of The Cars glory days and most likely your glory days as well. The sound is classic Cars yet also full and modern to fit with today’s louder, more compressed tracks. I recommend this album if you are a Cars fan and even if you’re not I bet you’ll still enjoy “Move Like This”. The Cars are currently touring the United States so if you’re lucky enough to have them come to your town don’t miss seeing their live show.