It's been 35 years since Chrissie Hynde burst onto the scene with The Pretenders, making her one of the most recognisable faces of New Wave alongside Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux.

So it's perhaps a surprise that it has taken until the age of 62 for the effortlessly cool frontwoman to shed the comfort of the band brand and release a solo LP. It was recorded in Sweden, the cover has her still-youthful cheeks daubed with war paint depicting the colours of the Swedish flag, and she has even name-checked Abba when describing its making ... but it's tennis legend John McEnroe who makes a cameo rather than his Swedish rival Bjorn Borg. That sense of bewilderment surrounds these 11 guitar pop-lite tracks which neither add to not detract from the Pretenders legacy. A Plan Too Far and Dark Sunglasses have sufficient hooks, but much else here struggles to be compared to her band's best work. It did make me revisit Talk Of The Town, Message Of Love, Kid et al, with a new sense of appreciation and wonder, but perhaps that wasn't the point.

Martin Williams

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