Since the band’s inception, Cars Can Be Blue has grown from a two-piece to a trio. The addition of one member might not be expected to make a whole lot of sonic difference, but it turns out it has. The band’s latest LP, the full-figured Trace the Tension, will speak to garage-rock enthusiasts with twisted senses of humor.
The lyrical content on Trace the Tension oscillates between the playful (the lines “You gave me back my clothes/ You made me pizza rolls/ And when the lights went down/ That’s when we messed around” kick off opener “You Gave Me”) to absolutely crude (I will leave the lyrics to “I Am A Slut” to the reader’s imagination). The point is not to take any of it too seriously; you’d be hard-pressed to find anything approaching wisdom. The band seems content making noise that is more fun than thought-provoking, which is a laudable-enough goal.
“Battleship” is the album's real gem, a song that echoes a kind of sped-up Lemonheads, but with lyrics that are far more crass than anything Evan Dando could have possibly written. Drummer Nate Mitchell helms the mic for “You Should Be Begging,” one of the more serious—and serious-sounding—tracks on the record. Although the track includes an absolutely searing guitar solo courtesy of Becky Brooks (the most virtuosic performance on the album), Mitchell's maniacal howl takes the proverbial cake. 3 out of 5.