The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

BLONDIE

A PANIC OF GIRLS

 

Released 2011

 

 

 

When I caught Blondie last year at the OC Fair in LA I was impressed and even though it’s getting on for a year since that day they played five songs that night that made it onto their latest album ‘A Panic of Girls’: namely: ‘D Day’; ‘Love Doesn't Frighten Me’; ‘What I Heard’ ‘The End, The End’ and ‘Mother’.  The good news is that here those songs are great. The slightly disappointing news for me is that they are definitely the highlights of what is a pretty variable album.

 


Blondie to me was always so much more than ‘Parallel Lines’ and even though here they rock it up to a degree here, overall ‘Panic’ references in almost equal measures: pop, rock, reggae and avant-garde. It’s the latter components that don’t really cut it with ‘Girlie, Girlie’ and ‘Sunday Smile’ rather light on substance, though ‘The End, The End’ shines in the reggae category. We’ll cover that last category later! That aside what we are left with is certainly an improvement on their last rather disco-led outing.

 


Opening with Clem’s drums into ‘D-Day’ we are kind of back in vintage Blondie New-Wave territory: keyboard and bass heavy pop. It’s a nice track and will be a familiar reference point to fans but it’s not one of the best on offer.  That honour either goes to ‘Mother’ which is a sheer Blondie pop classic or ‘Love Doesn't Frighten Me’: another fine and intensely catchy track showcasing Debbie’s timeless vocals.
‘What I Heard’ is another great song and a 2011 Blondie classic with sweeping keys and guitar stabs and Debbie on top form.  It’s interesting (for me at least) to note that two of these highlights (‘What I Heard’ and ‘Love Doesn’t Frighten Me’) were supplied by keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen.

 


More experimental songs like the laid back ‘Words in My Mouth’ and the Latin drenched semi-Spanish spoken ‘Wipe off My Sweat’ just miss the mark for me. As for the French lyric to ‘Le Bleu’ café film noire music anyone? I don’t mind it actually. Closer ‘China Shoes’ kind of redeems things though with a smouldering vocal from Debbie on a slow burner of a song with some airy guitar.
At the end of the day a few listens in, I’m happy but not blown away. At least we know they will be playing the cream live…

 

 

By Mark Diggins