Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Review: The Prodigy reinvent their own wheel on new album, No Tourists


Essex rave veterans The Prodigy serve up another assault course of breakbeats and electro-punk on No Tourists, their seventh studio album.

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On 2009’s Invaders Must Die, The Prodigy re-announced themselves to the world with a record which aggressively fused rock, dance, techno, dub, tinges of reggae and everything in-between. Their previous attempt, Always Outnumbered, Never Gunned, (albeit without prodigal Firestarter Keith Flint himself) was seven years in the making and an untimely flop in every sense of the phrase. The confused 2004 effort, a mish-mash of anything from drum n bass to breakbeat, was led by a gang of vocalists which were more suited to the mid-00s nu-rave movement than what was a highly anticipated follow-up to 1997’s The Fat of the Land. For now, at least, The Prodigy seem to have found peace with themselves and settled on a sound which is both reminiscent and futuristic.

On 2018’s No Tourists, The Prodigy continue the theme of its two predecessors by opening with a pre-released single (‘Invaders Must Die’ – 2009, ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ – 2015, ‘Need Some1’ – 2018). ‘Need Some1’ is an eclectic display of dance beats which crashes into its chorus; it’s probably the album’s strongest track and you can see why it was selected as the lead single. That’s not to say it’s all downhill from here, but ‘Light Up The Sky’ and ‘We Live Forever’ could easily sit on either of The Prodigy’s two previous releases. The Prodigy are firmly reinventing their own wheel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s not all “samey” though. Perhaps the most daring track on No Tourists is the three-and-a-half-minute nu-metal/hip hop crossover ‘Fight Fire with Fire’ – which features US hip-hop/metal blenders Ho99o9 – while the moody ‘Timebomb Zone’ channels mid-90s Prodigy and early rave influences with its “woo!” drum break that wouldn’t be out of place on Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s ‘It Takes Two‘. No Tourists concludes its assault course of arena-ready dance-rock with the most unlikely of suspects on guest vocals, rising British singer-songwriter Barns Courtney, and fades out from a plethora of trippy dance beats into the atmosphere.


The Prodigy tour the UK this month, calling at Arena Birmingham on 10 November. Tickets are on sale now.

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Richard Franks

Founding editor of Counteract. Freelance travel and music journalist.