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Liam Howlett... exposed.
on 24 August 2004
It was always apparent that The Prodigy was 80% Liam Howlett, and 20% everyone else, however it's amazing what a difference that 20% makes. This album, (Which did take ages in all fairness) is good by anyone's standards, but is by no means great. But then following up "Fat of the Land" was never going to be easy, especially without Maxim and Keith Flint onboard.
My advice to anyone is to listen to "Girls" before buying this, because if you don't like it that much, the chances are the rest of the album will disappoint you. Howlett's new millenium sound still has all the raw energy that it always had, unfortunatly a lot of this energy is wasted through a fair bit of dodgy mixing. The result is basically; Prodigy music with a heavy twisted disco feel, provided by the Aphex Twin / Basement Jaxx style production. I know this all sounds a bit far-fetched, but "You'll Be Under My Wheels" really reminds me of "Right Here's the Spot" by the Jaxx, and some of the tracks have some mental Warped style mix ups, eg: the last minute of "Girls".
Howlett still provides some phat beats, and some quality psychadelic synths, but the overall tone of every song sounds vaguely similar, which is a shame when you condiser the variety that "Fat of the Land" had to offer.
But enough dwelling on the past. My advice is that if you are a massive Prodigy fan (or a big twisted disco fan) than this is well worth a try. But don't expect a repeat of the previous form that won The Prodigy such a notable reputation in the dance industry 7 years ago. While I'm on the subject, 7 years ago, a collaboration between Liam Gallagher and the Prodigy would have been the biggest thing to hit the music scene all decade, so it's a shame that "Shoot Down" creeps up now rather than then. Plus it's also one of the worst tracks onboard, which sucks because it seems to be made out of elements of a wicked hidden track they made called "Triggerful" which was quality.
Anyway, it's still well worth £10. My favourite tracks on the album have to be "Girls", "Wake Up Call" and "The Way It Is".
These 3 tracks are by far the most complete tracks, when you consider the blend of bass, beats and synth. And "Wake Up Call" features a wicked little vocal sample from Kool Keith who featured on the excellent "Diesel Power" from the previous album.
PS: Can anyone hear Julliette Lewis on the record? Send you're answer to this number: 0800-GET-A-JOB.