- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

Blondie, “Pollinator” (BMG)

Blondie updates their sound of recent years on “Pollinator” by returning to some familiar and successful foundations.

Joan Jett joins the band on opener “Doom or Destiny,” one of the few tracks written by Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, but its thump sets the right tone.

“Long Time,” penned by Harry and Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange), is a “Heart of Glass” offshoot and mentions the Bowery, the home of club CBGB where Blondie was an early performer along with the Ramones, Patti Smith and Television, to name a few. The nostalgia is justified, “running circles round a night that never ends.”

“Already Naked” also evokes classic Blondie vibrations circa 1979, while Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio contributes “Fun” whose Nile Rodgers-like guitar and disco chorus sounds ripe for a Scissor Sisters cover, should they return.

“When I Gave Up on You” is a perfectly fine ballad marred by The Gregory Brothers’ Auto-Tune shtick, but actor and comedian John Roberts’ input, along with a surging horn section, boosts the merriment on “Love Level.”

Closer “Fragments” starts and ends in a cloud of gloom but the band, propelled by drummer Clem Burke and Harry’s passionate vocals, pulls out the stops during a vigorous middle section. At nearly seven minutes long, there’s plenty of time for the mood changes and it should be a highlight of their shows.

Blondie emphasizes energy, excitement, New York vibes and solid beats on “Pollinator.” The rest is up to you, pistils and stamens.

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