Charli XCX, Dave Sitek, Dev Hynes, Johnny Marr, Nick Valensi, Sia and other notables play roles in the writing and/or performing roles as regards Blondie album number 11. The guests add their touches to the Pollinator proceedings – but, is this release worthy of sitting at the top table of the Debbie Harry/Chris Stein recording CV?
Well, one has to say it is a grower and certainly has plenty of kudos under its covers. Therefore, it is thumbs up for the individual and collective components of a fine long player whose feel mainly dips its toes into the domains of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. However, the stars of the show only combine to pen two of the tunes present.
Iggy Pop has said that in his advanced years he could never emulate the magnitude of his earlier wondrous work but in essence how many can? However, there can still be magic momentum from the more mature and it does not have to be an embarrassment – please note John Lydon!
Blondie were musical magpies wrongly criticised by the punk purists for spreading their wings into other aural arenas. However, this band in their original format could turn out expertise in pop, disco, rap, reggae and a collection of commercial classics followed. So can a smorgasbord of satisfaction spread across the eleven tracks of this 2017 offering?
Once again the answer is in the credit column!
There are nods to power pop pomp in abundance here with opener Doom or Destiny setting the tone for the up-tempo skills associated with this combo. There are also meanderings into other sonic spheres – with one of the premier highlights – Best day Ever showing swathes of synth. Blondie delivering their new wave glory is always a treat and the Marr penned My Monster is on course and this allows Keith Moon fan and mainstay, Clem Burke, to drive the beat along from his drum kit. Long Time even borrows a hook from the band anthem Heart of Glass as Already and Naked plus Funtake their dynamic dalliances to the dancefloor (and these tunes could make the most credible Eurovision offerings ever! If only Blondie were British?!?). Gravity cuts its cloth in old school New York feisty fashion but also dents the cerebral with its catchy nature as a contemporary folksy format appears through the channels of I gave up on You and that takes Debbie right back to her roots. Love Level has a carnival course careering through its core that heads into the fields of fertility which once had Harry and her troops in mainstream domination. Meanwhile, Too Much is an infectious ode that would like many of these offerings been a feature of the second decade of operations for these durable warriors; and, the approaching 14 minutes of the Adam Johnston cover, Fragments is an alt.rock Free Bird – as a moody ballad texture moves away from commercial kudos and kicks into opulent overdrive.
Therefore, in a world of transient celebrities and talentless nobodies rudely occupying our culture, it is great to see a worthwhile input from one of the most iconic acts in global chart history. The Atomic adventurers led by one of the most famous female voices of our times still have a valid role in rock.
There is no need to Hurry up Harry as Debbie remains at the front of the rhythm race…..and as regards her band – we are still ‘touched by your presence’. Blondie plays The Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff on Friday, November 10, 8pm. For ticket details, goto: https://www.ents24.com/cardiff-events/motorpoint-arena-cardiff/blondie/5101401