(Take Me To The Hospital)
Why should anyone care about the Prodigy anymore? For a band once so omnipresent, the four and a half years since the release of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned have seen them fade away to become one of those bands that you’d maybe consider going to see live (although a ropey Oxegen 08 performance challenged even this) but buying a new record? Hmm…we’ll get back to you on that one. The news that they had bid farewell to their record label and were setting up on their own seemed to hammer the point home further – the Prodigy were finished.
So now they’re back (insert your own from out of space reference) with a new label, a new record and a very old sound. This, ladies and gentleman, is a rave record. That’s A RAVE RECORD. In the year 2009. Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but consider this. Of all the tracks collected on the Their Law compilation, what sounded the most vibrant, the most exciting? It certainly wasn’t their descent into cartoon punkery when they let Keith Flint start singing, but the stuff off Music For The Jilted Generation and even Experience – the very material that should have dated horribly.
Liam Howlett, then, knows just what he’s doing. This is more his album than ever, the sound of one man and his laptop. Although the first album since The Fat Of The Land to feature all three members, the contributions of both Maxim and (thankfully) Flint are kept low key. The former is at his menacing best on -Thunder’ but in reality both play second fiddle to Howlett’s beats and beeps.
The results are simply stunning, a heart stopping ride through speeded up vocal samples, the clarion call of hardcore keyboards and block rocking beats. Even Dave Ghrol, who provides drums -Run With The Wolves’, isn’t enough to drag this away from the dancefloor down some dull rock alleyway. Seeing as we’re in an old school mood, closer -Stand Up’ even resurrects the sound of Big Beat and manages to be the best thing on the record, maybe one of the best things they’ve done period. So why should anymore care about the Prodigy anymore? Because thrillingly, unexpectedly they still matter.