The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die
‘If you’re so special, why aren’t you dead?’ - World's On Fire
I was at a club once where the DJ made a ‘dance-remix’ of The Prodigy’s hit Firestarter by having a kick-drum keep time throughout the entire track, making a great dance tune into a mediocre dance tune. Too clever, too cutting-edge to be considered only as a ‘dance act’ and too much fun, too danceable, to be clumped in with the 'Intelligent Dance Music' crowd occupied by Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, the Prodigy occupy their own space in the spectrum of music where dance, electronica, chill-out, industrial, punk and rock combine.
Or at least they did until 2005's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Overcoming writers block by changing methods, Liam Howlett turned to laptops for inspiration and as a result produced a record of the sort made by those who like to ‘remix’ dance music by adding kick drums and beeps, and reversing random passages, perhaps mixing in another song altogether, everything apparently effected by pre-set tools such as ‘Robot voice’ and ‘Cathedral echo’.
However, Invaders Must Die is - whisper it - a return to form for the Prodigy, a return to, y’know, actually playing keyboards and twiddling knobs on huge racks of analogue synths. While it doesn't quite exude the ‘what’s this?’ shock value of Music For the Jilted Generation or Fat of the Land - for all its retro leanings, it has more in common with Experience actually - it does prove that they can still cut it amongst young pretenders like Pendulum.
Bowel-bothering bass gurgles and groans, untreated drum machines rattle, snatches of dialogue and vocal passages,continually-tweaked analogue synths and sequencers skronk and squeak - everything fast and angry, instant, anthemic - as perfect for dancefloors as for stadiums. With no radical departures, this probably won’t find itself on ther same lists of groundbreaking records as Jilted; although some of it, in fact, is very reminiscent of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR. But, for all the snarling jousts between Keith and Maxim peppered throughout the record, the outright highlight is Stand Up - a glorious early-Weatherall sounding finale with a horn riff that you’ll be humming for days.
It’s good to have them back.
The Prodigy play SECC, Glasgow on 14 Apr and Rockness, Dores on 14 Jun.http://www.theprodigy.com