Mojo - February 1999

MOJO Magazine - February 1999

Album Review

No Exit

First studio album for 16 years with near-as-damn-it original line-up.

Thanks to CD technology, the first track, a ropey ska number only made worse by Debbie lapsing into codpatios, can be skipped altogether. After that initial hurdle, the return to form is surprisingly fast. The infectious Maria - complete with Christmas bells - and Nothing Is Real But The Girl both sound like vintage Blondie at their sassy, upbeat best. Blondie albums were always characterised by variety and this one's no exception, from the playful Happy Dog and country-tinged The Dreams Lost On Me to the nod to their girl-group ancestors in a cover of ex-Blondie collaborator and Brill Building queen Ellie Greenwich's Out In The Streets. The title track could be this album's Rapture, it's subtle re-routing of '90s hip hop standing out on an album mercifully untouched by modern techniques. There are no trip-hop reworkings or trendy 'name' producers here; instead, their reunion with veteran New York producer Craig Leon brings an air of New Wave authenticity. In the sleevenotes to the first Blondie album, Ronnie Toast tells us that, "Blondie hates fun, but they have so much of it..." It's good to hear that they still do. Jenny Bulley

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