As we had mentioned in our New Year posts regarding projects we’re excited about, the disconnected threads about the forthcoming reunion of The Cars are starting to come together. First off, according to some PR advances, the band has signed with the Hear Music/Concord label, not former home Elektra Records, which is focusing on hip hop/pop acts like Bruno Mars. The release date is tentatively slated for May. Concord has recently made news with their release of the Elvis Costello album National Ransom. Paul McCartney’s entire solo catalog has transferred out of EMI’s corporate hands into Concord’s, the first fruits of the deal being the ultra-deluxe edition of Band on the Run from this past Christmas.
The line-up is Ric Ocasek on vocals and rhythm guitar, Elliot Easton on guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards and bass, and David Robinson on drums and percussion. The most obvious change is the absence of Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000 of pancreatic cancer.
Three videos have appeared on the band’s Facebook page. They comprise three teasers for the songs “Blue Tip,” “Sad Song” and “Free,” but there is no guarantee these are final titles for the tracks. The actual album title is also shrouded in mystery. Speaking with Rolling Stone Magazine, Robinson said the working title was Sharp Subtle Flavor. More recent rumors and the “Free” video seem to all aim toward the new album being called Free. Aside from the debut, every Cars album has been titled after a track, so it can be assumed the video for “Free” is confirmation, at least for that track.
A final piece of the mystery involves a photo, also from their Facebook page, of a man who appears to be producer Jacknife Lee, who has produced recent efforts from R.E.M., U2 and made his name with the group Bloc Party.
A version of the band, The New Cars, arrived in the mid-aughts without Ocasek’s presence. Instead, Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton from Utopia pitched in with Greg Hawkes and Elliot Easton. The reaction to the pairing was, by most accounts, a mixed one with fans split evenly between positive and negative opinions.