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The Prodigy get Nasty: Single/Video Review Special | reviews, news & interviews

The Prodigy get Nasty: Single/Video Review Special

The Prodigy get Nasty: Single/Video Review Special

The original rave juggernaut returns after half a decade away

The Prodigy - Liam Howlett, Maxim Reality and Keith Flint© Paul Dugdale

The Prodigy are one of the totemic bands of electronic dance music. Born out of Essex's wild inferno of rave culture at the turn of the Nineties, their first two albums are a definitive window into British dance music of the time, boasting attitude, speeding breakbeats and a gutsy sense of communal euphoria. Helmed by producer Liam Howlett, the quartet went on to become a world-conquering band, assimilating a dose of rock for their 1997 Fat of the Land album, a US chart-topper, as well as the iconic, twin-mohawk-toting "Firestarter" single and video. Their live shows, outrageous explosions of energy, were the stuff of legend.

prodge albumDancer Leeroy Thornhill left in 2000 and The Prodigy's fourth album, 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, was essentially a Howlett solo outing. Money made and mansions bought, it looked as if the band's time had passed, that they were fizzling apathetically out. But they had a surprise up their sleeve. Regrouping as a trio around a 21st-century rejig of their original sound, 2009's Invaders Must Die, released through unlikely folkie independent Cooking Vinyl, showcased a reinvigorated group, the live shows as ballistic as they'd ever been.

For the last couple of years rumours have abounded that a follow-up called How to Steal a Jetfighter was appearing any moment. Finally, as New Year 2015 approached, it was announced the album was actually called The Day Is My Enemy (cover art, above right) - possibly an incongruous Cole Porter reference - with typically sparring titles such as "Get Your Fight On" and "Wall of Death", and it's preceded by a single, "Nasty".

This is very much in the vein of their last album but with a smidgeon of "Firestarter" snarl. The sound isn't any kind of leap forward or departure, which is disappointing, and it's hard, on a first listen, to get behind that chorus. On further exposure, though, it has a cheap, throwaway Seventies punk aspect, akin to the second wave of geezer-ish bands that followed the art school originators. Howlett's jarring production is the best bit, the pauses and gnarly technoid effects. The man has a good ear for the contagiously abrasive. The video is a trashy, stylised animation wherein our hero, a demonic urban cousin of Fantastic Mr Fox, possibly representing outsiders who rule the night, takes on a gang of pump-shotgun-touting aristocrats. Never mind the visuals, The Prodigy's first release of new music in six years is a flag to their fanbase signalling it's pedal-to-the-metal business as usual. Let's hope the album contains more in the way of wild surprises.

Watch the video for "Nasty"


 

Let's hope the album contains more in the way of wild surprises

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Song's a bit of a grower. Video is great.

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