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Music Review

The Prodigy: 'Invaders Must Die'

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The Prodigy: 'Invaders Must Die'
Released on Monday, Feb 23 2009

It's 2009. The top-selling artists in the UK are a Welsh crooner with a Dusty Springfield obsession and a band who have a distinctly beige feel about them even when they're dressed up in Sgt. Pepper gear. So who better to give everyone a kick up the backside than dance/punk/rave nutters The Prodigy? Their 1997 blockbuster Fat Of The Land arrived just as we were getting sick of Britpop and succeeded in shaking things up with Daily Mail-baiting videos and visceral tunes. Their star has waned significantly over the past decade, but it somehow feels right that they've chosen this year to get back to touring and taking on the charts.

New album Invaders Must Die is a focused return to the monolithic beats of FOTL and rave thrills of Experienced and ...Jilted Generation. Where 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned probably suffered from an over-long gestation period and an excess of experimentation, Invaders finds the group returning to what they do best - going straight for the jugular. The opener and title track begins with a deadpan announcement of "We are The Prodigy" before launching into an onslaught of zig-zagging break-beats that will have old-school ravers digging out their Doc Martens. As statements of intent go, it's pretty impressive.

Thereon in, The Prodigy showcase two distinct styles. On 'Colours' and the Dave Grohl-assisted 'Run With The Wolves', Keith Flint's punk-rock tendencies come to the fore - the latter being a surprisingly successful mixture of Metallica-style rock and sparse, heavy beats. Fortunately Flint has lost none of his sneering passion, bellowing ("What are you going to do when the hounds are calling!") like a man possessed. Lyrically this isn't the smartest stuff, but as with 'Firestarter' and 'Breathe', the pounding rhythms are so brutal you'll barely notice.

Elsewhere, the band revisit their raving glory days on the dance mash-up 'Take Me To The Hospital' and warehouse punk of 'Warrior's Dance', which morphs from a corny sax solo into a gigantic ball of super-speed drums, whizzing synths and euphoric vocals. On 'Hospital' the band even tip their hats to their reggae-sampling 1992 hit 'Out Of Space' with some chipmunk vocal interludes in the breakdowns.

Ultimately, what this means is that Invaders is dance music without the irony, neon outfits and raised eyebrows of Klaxons. Occasionally they verge on self-parody - 'World On Fire' is a bit too Hadouken!ish for comfort - but the slip-ups are outweighed by the thrills. Their beats and bleeps may not as shocking as they were ten years ago, and the guys may be sprouting the odd grey hair, but The Prodigy are still capable of delivering a hefty musical punch.

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