There’s only a couple of bands I generally buy all the output of without question, one is – perhaps unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me – the Levellers, and the other is the Prodigy. As such I opted to take the unusual step of plugging their very-soon-to-be-released album as upon first few listens, it’s a dramatic return to form.
The Prodigy perhaps don’t really deserve such loyalty for recent output. I grew up very much with Jilted as a soundtrack, and despite latterly finding it the beginning of a decline – The Fat of the Land provided a soundtrack and seminal genre-defining tracks (Firestarter, Breathe) to a fairly significant period in my life, so I have retained a lot of fondness for it, although a glance at my iPhone tells the story – I’ve chopped out the chaff and retained the eight tracks I like. Jilted I’ve dropped only the incongruous ‘One Love’.
Of course, it all started with the release of Experience – but that’s an album I picked up on latterly having been seduced by Jilted. However, it does include such gems as Charly and Out of Space so it can’t be ignored completely – nonetheless I digress completely, we’d got as far as The Fat of the Land.
After this there was the interlude release of Liam Howlett’s ‘Dirtchamber sessions’ which had a Prodigy logo on it – I’ll be honest, I bloody love this, it’s basically Liam mashing up tracks before mashing up really was part of the general consciousness. They then released the rather lazy and ill-fated ‘Baby’s got a temper‘ single – a time when I wondered whether they’d produce any decent output again (although it featured an interesting video).
Another gap, where presumably some more snowboarding took place, and ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’ arrived. I like this album, but it’s a Liam Howlett project really – it has some cracking tracks on it, and some fillers – it doesn’t feature Keith or Maxim. One of the tracks also featured on a BMW advert I think! It’s good, and it has unmistakable Prodigy-like elements, but it wasn’t great – things were declining.
Yesterday I listened to their latest album, due for release next week, and was pretty much blown away. It starts with some proper head-juddering tracks that frankly have to be listened to loudly. I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that this is perhaps the album that The Fat of the Land could have been. Whilst it doesn’t (and what could?) eclipse Jilted, it competes and is a great natural progression. A build upon that style with a few flashbacks to the more overtly dance roots from which they came from.
I love it. I most definitely recommend availing yourself of it when it is available – whilst clearly I already have the means to listen to it I shall be purchasing too next week.