The Cars: Candy-O (Rhino)
The Cars self-titled 1978 debut was a daring in-its-moment fusion of underground and mainstream. By the time of their 1979 follow-up, Candy-O, The Cars were as polished as a new model just off the assembly line. They had perfected a slightly subversive contemporary pop sound that would keep them on the charts and arena stages through the ‘80s.
Candy-O has been reissued on CD and vinyl with a half-dozen bonus tracks. Heard after all these years, the album retains strengths: bracing melodies driven by synthesizers; the brightness of pop casting dark shadows, deepened by Ric Ocasek’s neurotic vocals. Producer Roy Thomas Baker engineered a sound that popped and crackled, with enough depth for FM and enough sharpness to cut through the AM static.