Picks and Pans Review: Door to Door

updated 10/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Cars

Since the Cars rose to prominence from Boston in 1978 they have always had good musicianship, a crackling techno-rock approach and the quirky vocal delivery of leader Ric Ocasek. But underlying that distinctive sound is the real key to their success: a facility for composing catchy pop tunes. That crucial ingredient is missing from most of the selections on Door to Door, their first album of new material in three years. The exceptions are the perky single You Are the Girl, the bold rockers Strap Me In and Double Trouble, and Coming Up You. The last, sung by bass player Ben Orr, is a pretty song with a jaunty production quality like that of 10CC. Not one of these four tunes, however, is comparable to what the Cars have proved they are capable of. Most of the other songs on this LP are frivolous (Leave or Stay) or moodily desolate (Fine Line). The Cars need melodies that grab like Velcro. Otherwise their sty le seems contrived and brittle, the beat too insistent and hectic. Door to Door is Cars manqué, but it doesn't call for a major overhaul. Just a tune-up. (Elektra)

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