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The Cars: Move Like This

B

The Cars

Album: Move Like This
Label: Hear Music

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There are plenty of reasons why Move Like This, the first Cars album in 24 years, shouldn’t exist: Ric Ocasek’s near-constant insistence that it would never happen, the death of bassist Benjamin Orr in 2000, and, yes, that disastrous detour in 2005 with Todd Rundgren in The New Cars. And yet Move Like This is here, and it actually justifies its existence. Wisely disregarding the quarter-century that’s passed since 1987’s Door To Door, The Cars easily slip back into old maneuvers; Move Like This turns sleekly on tightly strummed power-pop guitars, crunchy drum beats, splashy handclaps, and warmly buzzing keyboard lines. Given how many bands have lifted from The Cars’ back catalog in recent years, Move Like This actually sounds more contemporary than the creators could’ve possibly intended. (The Strokes arguably out-Cars even The Cars on this year’s Angles.) The catchy “Blue Tip” and “Sad Song”—which recalls, intentionally or not, “My Best Friend’s Girl”—hardly seem like the work of fiftysomething men hoofing it through old paces; change the band name on the album cover, and these songs could rule modern-rock radio. Occasionally Move Like This veers into self-homage, like on the otherwise lovely “Soon,” a synth-pop ballad that rewrites the band’s biggest hit, “Drive.” But considering how many other bands have tried to make modern versions of classic Cars songs, it’s nice to see the original article doing it better than most.