Cars Can Be Blue – Trace the Tension (hhbtm)
Trace the Tension opens with “You Gave Me,” a saccharine love song that references Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and pizza rolls. That more or less sets the tone. Cars Can Be Blue’s thing is three-to-four-chord jangly pop juxtaposed against irreverent, sarcastic lyrics. Somehow the contrast comes off less gimmicky here thanon the last album I heard from them (which brought us such classics as “Retarded Retard”). Underneath the cheekily ironic twee-ness of it all, there’s a genuine sense of aggression and anxiety. “I don’t care about your fucking mouth and all the shit that’s coming out,” Becky Brooks sings sweetly over some poppy “oh oh”s in “Battleship.” The whole aesthetic is like a louder, catchier, cruder Destroy Nate Allen, minus—very much minus—the latter’s weird slut-shaming moments. Fun and worth a listen, if not for the songs then at least for the hilariously awful voicemail samples from someone’s horrible grandma.