The Prodigy: Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

(XL Records)

 

Speaking to the Guardian recently Prodigy producer Liam Howlett tore into ‘unimaginative, music-by- numbers’ modern dance music, days before the Big Issue reached much the same conclusion about Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (‘a mumbling, rumbling, grumbling, stumbling wreck’).

 

And listening to much mainstream house music as well as all 12 tracks on Always Outnumbered’, both parties are right, Howlett clearly treading water as much as the household house producers he affects to despise. That’s not to say the album is bad (compared to most new electronic albums it’s unquestionably good) but stood alongside the excellence of The Prodigy’s first three albums, it’s indifferent, indeed disappointing. 

 

Speaking to Q magazine recently in a track by track feature, Howlett happily described on track You'll Be Under My Wheels as ‘just an album filler’ and the term could be applied to the whole album, certainly when held up to the standard of Outer Space, Smack My Bitch Up or No Good. Guest vocals from the likes of Princess Superstar, Oasis and Hollywood actress Juliette Lewis also fail to distinguish or illuminate his work, suggesting he’s still struggling to overcome what appears to remain a serious creative block.

 

Like mainstream house music, The Prodigy formed in a whirlwind of creativity, both discarding the past and rewriting their own rule books for computer generated electronic music. 17 years after house blew up, it’s finally being reinvigorated by new faces and/ or old hands going back to (and beyond) their roots whereas12 years after the Prodigy’s first album, Howlett (who in reality, is and always was The Prodigy) appears locked in a loop.

 

Hardcore Prodigy fans will still probably love it, but Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is an underwhelming experience from a band who’ve clearly stopped firing on all cylinders.

 

 

Rating: 6/10

 

Genre: electronica/ breaks

 

1     SPITFIRE
 2    GIRLS [FEAT. THE PING PONG BITCHES]
3     MEMPHIS BELLS [FEAT. PRINCESS SUPERSTAR]
4     GET UP GET OFF [FEAT. TWISTA AND SHAHIN BADAR]
5     HOT RIDE [FEAT. JULIETTE LEWIS]
6     WAKE UP CALL [FEAT. KOOL KEITH]
7     ACTION RADAR [FEAT. PAUL JACKSON]
8     MEDUSA'S PATH
9     PHOENIX
10   YOU'LL BE UNDER MY WHEELS
11   THE WAY IT IS
12   SHOOT DOWN [FEAT. VOCALS BY LIAM GALLAGHER AND BASS GUITAR BY NOEL GALLAGHER]

 

http://www.theprodigy.com

 

 

Review By: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

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