Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * *
The willing is there, you would obviously expect nothing less than that from the woman who dominated iconography and pictures on many a teenage wall across the generations, yet sometimes the final product is not enough to make up for the lack of enthusiasm a fan or a listener might appreciate that comes across in less than exciting, less than fulfilling terms as they take in the latest album by Blondie, Pollinator.
Time is harsh mistress, it demands commitment and perhaps servitude from all who look at the clock and plan something special, to be more than ordinary you have to serve the time and if it feels wasted, Time can be unforgiving, it can shape the reflection of what went before in such a way that it can distort, even unhinge all the good and great work, and whilst Blondie are never in danger of losing the respect of their incredible back catalogue, to hear Pollinator is to see Time’s point of view that like politics, all great careers end in less than auspicious circumstances.
The problem with Pollinator does not lay in the returning to a full band sound, it is in the fact that unfortunately it feels to contrived, too undemanding, there is very little evidence of the sensuality that made the band such a huge hit, not a hint of the dogged determination and daring that pushed them to the point of being rightfully acknowledged as one of the great bands to come out of the punk era or indeed making Debbie Harry one of the hottest names in the business. There is none of the emotion you would hope for in the album and because of that it suffers, it is not the same because Time has gone too far, the uphill battle perhaps too much to keep conquering and in the end, like Sisyphus, the musical boulder is too heavy to shoulder the burden of.
In certain moments the edge of the song will capture something new and the relay of the past, it will radiate brighter than a star but all too soon it fades, it collapses and the feeling of emptiness, of a kind of mourning is all too evident. In My Monster there is hope, in Fragments there is expectation and in Already Naked there is the glint of rebellion that first entranced a million minds, however it is all too brief, too sporadic and with huge regret, the lowering of flag and the trumpeter’s pursed lips, the symbol of an age seems to pass.
Pollinator, perhaps like the humble bee, is a sign of an age passing, a terrible realisation, a heavy heart will crumble but in the open air of reality, Time has moved on.
Ian D. Hall