The Cars - Move Like This (Hear Music)
When you think of the best Cars albums - particularly their self-titled debut, Candy-O and Heartbeat City - it's their ability to mix new wave with exceptional pop hooks that most impresses. Some 24 years since their previous album, Ric Ocasek and the surviving band members (bassist Benjamin Orr succumbed to cancer in 2000) have not only succeeded in revisiting past glories but have produced a collection which comfortably stands alongside their finest records.
The first thing you'll notice is the energy. The first three tracks clear the gate at a gallop, barely touching the ground - urgent, vital and as catchy as hell. It's not difficult to draw comparisons to the classic trio of tracks that opened their self-titled debut over thirty years ago, and here they have much the same effect. When they do slow things down on "Soon", it's with an intro that'll remind many of the taut coolness of "Drive". They're definitely pushing buttons here, and they're all the right ones.
Ocasek keeps his vocals as clipped and sharp as you remember them and the whole band sound like they've been woken from a two decade long coma, handed their instruments and told to get back to doing what they do. I suppose one could argue that they've made no real progress in the intervening years, but it's good to hear The Cars (2011) sounding just like The Cars (1978-84), unaffected by baggage like age, maturity and the responsibilities that come with both.