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Customer Review

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far off the Bullseye, 25 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Invaders Must Die (Audio CD)
In a magazine interview, Liam Howlett once said that one of his desires would be to hammer out the theme tune to ITV's now defunct gameshow "Bullseye" on the piano. What a delighful thought, filled with the sort of creativity and humour that the band's first album "The Prodigy Experience" was steeped in. They even dressed themselves up in clown costumes for their early appearances on the rave circuit. Not too many serious frowns back then apparently.

With this, The Prodigy's 5th album, "Invaders must Die" we see incisions rather than full cuts of music sourced from the rave era, combined with the acidic, industrialized style that came to the fore with their last album, "Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned".

Here the boys from Braintree show that while their love for vessel-bursting bass tremors hasn't dimmed over the years, what is missing here is what made them such a unique act in the first place - all of that ranging, inventive, infective energy that made the band stand (briefly) on the shoulders of ravers for a period in the mid 1990s.

Why then is this album such a let down? Simply put, it is in its total lack of variety. Each track screams out, virtually begging to be heard, often by virtue of how vast a wall of industrial booming that Howlett can muster from his keyboards.

Such is this focus on noise for the sake of it that layers of sound occasionally bleed through, an auditory experience which led me to believe that at some point during the mixing process a pack of teen wastrels had managed to jimmy the lock to Liam's studio, before proceeding to crash and pling every button on all systems going - rabid additions that apparently met with the approval of Mr Howlett.

Which brings me to another wretched flaw on the album - the inclusion of vocals from fellow "band member" Keith Flint. (on no less than three of the album's eleven tracks). That jarring, "proper essex boy" leer may have added to the punch of earlier hits like "Firestarter" but here it just sounds like, well, a bloke shouting at you, like you're lookin' at his bird or something.

Not only this, but the idiocy of some of the lyrics he uses reminded me again of young kids trespassing the decks, except this time they're armed with crayons and bubble gum: "Along came a spider, he was creepy like Dracula" Keith rasps on "Take me to the Hospital", perhaps unaware in his haste to satisfy the big boss, (three tracks Liam? Were there not enough cats to mangle on the day?) that just because two words have the same sound at their end, it may not always guarantee a rhyme. Not that I'm suggesting that we should look for dazzling pentameters and delicious syntax in The Prodigy, but a semblance of a melody would sometimes be nice.

Finally, and on a more positive note, the standout track on the album is without a doubt "Warrior's Dance". A storming tune which borrows heavily from the rave/hardcore scene that the band themselves emerged from. Its drenched in the same energy that "Everybody in the Place" and "Charlie" had in buckets. Here for once the fairground and drum and bass lite fuse brilliantly with the band's development into darker, more industrialized beats. Its a rare exception and judging by the rest of the material on display here, the eye to what is a predominantly cynical and towering vacuum of noise.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2009 15:16:47 BDT
Peter Bonnar says:
Excellently put, great review.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 07:26:39 BDT
catimp says:
No it's not it's a terrible review. Poncy posturing.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Aug 2009 14:12:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Aug 2009 14:13:31 BDT
Gwyn Timmer says:
Actually, I think it's a very well-balanced review - not terrible, but one that doesn't lean too closely to the "excellent" side of things either.

Posted on 23 Sep 2010 11:17:42 BDT
Nugent Dirt says:
Totally agree, esp re the retardedly inane lyrics that pepper the album.
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