By Ken Clarke
Like many “revived” bands, The Cars may not have needed it, but this time there’s a twist that makes it worthwhile. Musical prodigy Todd Rundgren is at the wheel of the New Cars, replacing former front man Ric Ocasek. No self-respecting Todd fan would have seen that coming.
The band consists of only two original Cars members, guitarist Elliott Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes. The remaining original Cars are either dead or disinterested, (Ocasek has always hated touring). Todd brings with him his long-time bassist Kasim Sultan and former drummer Prairie Prince, making the band seem more like his own project.
It’s Alive! is a concert album containing 12 remakes of original Cars hits, plus two Todd classics, “Open My Eyes” and “I Saw The Light.” Todd takes on The Cars tunes with assured gusto, providing unique twists and solid vocal harmonies with the ever capable Sultan. The disc also includes three new studio recordings, “Not Tonight,” “Warm” and “More,” which are the freshest sounding and hint at possible future endevours.
For hard-core Cars fans this disc may be a little hard to take due to the absence of Ocasek. For Todd fans, It’s Alive! is a must-have, if only for his presence.