Racing Cars

Second Wind

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Since first revving back out onto the road in 1988, Racing Cars have undergone a few remodels, but their engine has purred smoothly regardless. In 2000, the band finally released a new album, Bolt from the Blue, but it's taken another seven years for Racing Cars to pull back into the studio and record their follow-up, Second Wind. It's a fine set, ten songs strong plus a remix, but one that is surprisingly far less diverse than their live performances. Zooming down "The Wrong Road," Racing Cars head straight for classic rock land with a trio of powerful '70s-styled rockers, a potent reminder of the band's early days. But as fans well know, there's more to this sleek vehicle than that. "Whatever Sunday Brings" and the nostalgic "Six Silver Strings" pay tribute to the band's bluesy roots, while "Cuckoo Spit" leans toward R&B, but with a decided '70s spin. "Bolt from the Blue," in contrast, perfectly captures the glossy urban style of the '80s -- from this side of the pond that is, with "Hate to See a Woman Cry" reflecting the lush post-new romantic style that swept over the opposite shore, a moody ballad made to break your heart. But that's the beauty of Racing Cars: they can belt out a stomper like "Cuckoo Spit" one minute and the downbeat showstopper "The Heart of You" the next. Still, what's lacking is a sense of adventure and a few unexpected surprises. The band is happy to do that live, but apparently not in the studio. Fans probably won't mind, but it would have made for a far more exciting set in the end.

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