Fast Moving Cars by Pittsburgh natives The Clarks contains fun, summery songs that fit in nicely as the background noise of a pool party or long summer’s drive. Each song contains some sort of peppy light guitar lick and memorable melodies that easily get stuck in your head until you start finding yourself humming them hours later. Many songs sound very similar to Splender, an alt-rock band with songs that fit nicely into the soundtrack of a WB teen drama; The Clarks can easily be described in the same way, singing songs that involve the typical subjects of lost loves, found loves, and finding the freedom in finally discovering yourself as you grow older.
“Anymore” and “Happy” both have a bouncy mid-tempo sound with heartbreaking lyrics about giving up on lost loves that easily could be mistaken to be about something much happier. Both have choruses with atypical rhythm patterns that make the words themselves much catchy than just by themselves. By the end of “Anymore,” lead singer Scott Blasey comes to terms with his misfortunes and decides to move on, a theme that fits well into the theme of here-today-gone-tomorrow summer flings. The indecision towards love in “Happy” leads the chorus to climax in “I’m not high on life, I’m not drunk on love/Not feeling right,” all sentiments that are easily relatable.
Getting out and letting go of your inhibitions is another summer theme that plays throughout the album in songs like “Shimmy Low” and “Hell on Wheels.” Each has guitar lines that can easily be imagined filling up an outdoor amphitheatre on a hot summer night; both would easily get a crowd moving, whether at a show or simply at a local party. With their inspiring message of taking advantage of freedom from obligations, it’s no wonder that the band chose “Hell on Wheels” as their first single.
Further into the album, The Clarks make a slight departure into country music in both subject and sound; “Gypsy Lounge,” a song that repeatedly refers to what possibly could be a stripper, has a steel guitar featured prominently throughout as does “Train,” a mournful song about fighting in World War II. This obvious foray into the country genre allows the band to show their diverse song-writing talents as well as keeping the album from becoming monotonous, playing to the same generic audience like many other pop-rock bands.
With four members sharing the songwriting duties, the diversity of the songs on the third album on the independent label Razor and Tie (seventh studio album total) can be expected. The electrified folksy sound of “Blue” carries along a mid-tempo song about a standard in pop music – regretting the lost love whose moved on to someone else. “Fast Moving Cars”, a languorous song that sounds slightly influenced by Jimmy Buffet’s beach songs, gives a peek into the boredom that comes from playing gigs in different towns every night, spending too much time on the highway; though the complaints about touring isn’t a new subject in pop music, The Clarks never get whiney about it, coming to the conclusion that “after all this time I still believe/With a few tricks hidden up my sleeve” that it would be pointless to stop now.
Overall, The Clarks’ new album fits the summer mood, moving from fast and energetic to slow and relaxing as it moves through some typical summertime stops – end of relationships, road trips, and new found freedom to become who you were always meant to be. With every song being as catchy as the last, it’s about time The Clarks finally break into the mainstream.
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