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Blondie : Pollinator

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Blondie take their time. Pollinator is only their eleventh studio album in over 40 years, but despite this stop-start history, the band have maintained a distinctive sound. This aesthetic is employed with pleasing results on Pollinator –an album which, as with much of the band’s best work, manages to be breezy yet bolshie.
 
A few key, aural signifiers link Pollinator to the band’s most recognisable work: bubbling synths that double Debbie Harry’s understated but catchy melodies, and hi-hats used with welcome gratuity. The strongest cuts from the album are concentrated in its first half. Lead single Long Time is somehow both sardonic and yearning, and manages to feel thoroughly Blondie without coming across as derivative. The sparkling Fun taps into pop’s renewed appreciation of disco, with Nile Rodgers-esque guitars and a two-part chorus. Gravity, contributed by Charli XCX, is another clear standout, packed with the teasing, ball-busting attitude that Charli and Harry share.
 
The album’s weakness is its lyrical content. Trite metaphors and overly-familiar themes mean that some songs are carried purely by their melodic strength. But at its strongest, Pollinator proves that Blondie remain more than capable of producing music that’s confident, fresh and effortlessly cool.
 
By John Rowley