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Artists such as Sia and Johnny Marr help Debbie Harry and Blondie recreate their classic sound – 40 years later – on new album Pollinator

Blondie - Pollinator - BMG, out Friday

dailymail.co.uk – 19th April 2017

By Graeme Thomson for the Mail on Sunday

Rating 4/5

What do you do when you can no longer write the kind of songs that made you beloved in the first place?

If you’re Blondie, almost 40 years after the new wave became old news, you simply hire other people to write them for you.

Only three of the 11 songs on Pollinator were written by founding members and core composers Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, yet it scarcely seems to matter.

Deploying a squad of writers and collaborators that encompasses current pop pacemakers (Sia, Charli XCX) and more venerable names (Johnny Marr, Joan Jett), the working brief for all concerned is: recreate the classic Blondie sound and give it a modish electro-rock sheen.

For half the album, this pays off handsomely. Long Time doesn’t so much flirt with past glories as go all the way. A musical sequel to Heart Of Glass, it slinks and shimmies in the sweet spot where CBGB meets Studio 54.

With its blasting horns, bizarre rap and propulsive groove, the riotous Love Level is a tipsy kissing cousin to The Tide Is High.

Kicking off with a thunderous drum roll à la Union City Blue, the fiercely catchy Doom Or Destiny is classic Blondie from root to tip.

Harry is now 71 but proves equal to every task, whether it’s negotiating the squelchy disco-funk of Fun or belting out the luminous pop of Already Naked and Gravity.

Despite her efforts, the creakier parts of Pollinator feel somewhat laboured. Best Day Ever sounds like an escapee from Sia’s slush pile; When I Gave Up On You is clunky.

Pollinator eventually runs out of juice, but Blondie always were better suited to the sprint than a marathon.

However, at least five of these tracks could slip into their live set. Who cares if Blondie are now effectively their own tribute band when they play the part so well?


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