Review: Blondie's 'Panic of Girls' folds present into past

On "China Shoes" Blondie's Debbie Harry sings about her distant lover with tough, ageless longing.

Story highlights

  • There's a little too much throwing stuff at a wall
  • Their bailiwick synth-rock sometimes feels theatrically heavy-handed
  • Debbie Harry's voice remains sharply sculpted
On Blondie's self-released ninth album, the New York new wave greats fold the present into their past -- from a "Tide Is High"-tinged cover of Brooklyn avant-folkies Beirut to a "Dreaming"-like basher with a melody via TV on the Radio.
There's a little too much throwing stuff at a wall (the florid Spanish house track, the Serge Gainsbourg tribute) and, oddly, their bailiwick synth-rock sometimes feels theatrically heavy-handed, more Killers than Parallel Lines.
Yet, if the tunes sometimes sag, Debbie Harry's voice remains sharply sculpted; on "China Shoes" she sings about her distant lover with tough, ageless longing. Because you're never too old to get left hanging on the telephone.
Rolling Stone rating: 3 stars