This isn't exactly the full-on Cars  reunion fans have long craved owing to bassist/ vocalist Benjamin Orr's death in 2000. But with frontman Ric Ocasek and drummer David Robinson strapped in again, it's much more authentic and satisfying than 2005's New Cars experiment. The first set of new, Ocasek-penned Cars music in 24 years picks up where the group left off in the late '80s, a testament to how timeless and forward-looking the Cars were in their heyday. Blending guitar drive and synthesized colorings, "Blue Tip," "Free," the crunchy "Keep On Knocking" and first single "Sad Song" could be dropped onto any of the Cars' previous six albums, as could gentler, ambient fare like "Too Late" and "Take Another Look." Ocasek exercises a Dylanesque, dissociative trippiness throughout the album ("Your waxy face is melting on your lap/I sat there trying to crush a ginger snap"), though his old man's lament on the closing "Hits Me" is a bit disingenuous since "Move Like This" achieves the rare and admirable feat of sounding as current as it does retro.
- News