Panic Of Girls
Blondie is the quintessential New York City band, its roots firmly entrenched in the Bowery and Village fringe clubs like CBGB and Max's Kansas City. Now, over 30 years after they rose from the underground to become Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Blondie returns with their first new album of the decade — Panic Of Girls. The name of the game here is variety as Blondie transcend the "new wave" tag on so many different levels. When you get an album like Panic Of Girls where Debbie Harry not only sings songs in English, but in French and Spanish as well, then you realize this record is a little more exotic than you expected. In this instance, the mix seems to work.
"D-Day" gets things going, sounding fiendishly "new wave" without caving into further temptation. If Blondie wants 'em wiggling, this is a good start. "What I Heard" is more reminiscent of vintage Blondie - a smooth melody, easy turnarounds, and a melting chorus. "Mother," of course, bites a little harder, where Harry almost sounds like a little girl calling for her "mother…in the night…" despite the fact that the song was supposedly inspired by a New York City night club.
Bits of reggae, mariachi — both of which seem to infiltrate the ethereal strains of "Sunday Smile" — French techno, hip-hop...a little bit of that, this and everything is thrown into the blender. The album's last three songs — "Wipe Off My Sweat," "Le Bleu" and "China Shoes" — take liberties in all directions, each opening a window of scenery, pushing the band's chemistry to new heights. Whether it's a new century, new albums, new members, good genes or a healthy lifestyle -it looks as though Debbie Harry, drummer Clem Burke and guitarist Chris Stein, along with newer band members, bassist Leigh Foxx, guitarist Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen are just getting underway with Panic Of Girls.
~ Shawn Perry