The Prodigy return with their sixth studio album. And it's predictably loud!
Not many acts are in their 25th year of action and still misbehaving in quite the way the Prodigy appear to be based on listening to their 6th studio album which winged its way to #1 in the UK charts on release, being their 6th #1 album including their 2005 Greatest Hits. Liam, Keith and Maxim are rocking it and smashing things up (musically at the very least) on new album “The Day is My Enemy” and it seems bizarre to notice that this may only be their 6th album in 25 years, but that they’ve now equalled the number of albums in the ‘second half’ of their career as in the first.
The album “The Day is My Enemy” opens confidently with the kind of industrial crunching and swirling of drills and sirens we’ve grown accustomed too, but with a sweeter female vocal crooning the title and alongside the regular howls and yelps, a bleepy breakdown mid-song before building again with military drumming and Double Dragon-esque videogame refrains which are obviously very much the Prodigy’s thing, but also call to mind the work of ‘locum act’ Pendulum who achieved much fame doing the Prodigy’s thing in their temporary absences. The momentum continues in lead single “Nasty” which is pure 90s jeering and snarling over an evil crunching bassline and sci-fi whistles. Second single proper “Wild Frontier” is another hi-octane 80s video game theme (I imagine either a Burnout type racer or a Double Dragon type beat ‘em up) with wobbly synths.
“Rebel Radio” again harkens back to the band’s glory days with a terrace chant “That’s the rebel radio sound” and it’s here again that the sound is both ‘heard it all before’ and also reminiscent of current acts who must surely have been influenced by the band. The sleeve notes tell me that Flux Pavilion has a production credit and it all begins to make sense, particularly on tracks like “Roadblox” which has the revving and grinding you’d expect from Flux Pavilion and whilst he may not have helped make it, they are clearly on the same page musically. The acts team up on “Rhythm Bomb” which somehow sadly fails to be as good as a solo track by either.
“Ibiza” with Sleaford Mods is all “what’s ‘e fuckin’ doin’” over the trademark sounds of a robot fighting a drill in an arcade and is apparently a critique on DJ culture. “Destroy” begins with a similar arcade game inspired jingle before moving into something darker and more instrumental drum ‘n’ bass. “Rok-Weiler” and “Get Your Fight On” (the latter being near-unlistenable at times due to its playing around with atonal chords) both continue this theme.
“Beyond the Deathray” is a more ethereal instrumental and a welcome break from all the heaviness as is “Medicine” which begins like a Middle Eastern call to prayer and turns into the nearest thing to a pop song the band do with a catchy lyric about “A spoonful of sugar just to sweeten the taste”. All the momentum seems to falter slightly at the end as “Medicine” is followed by another slower number “Invisible Sun” which sounds other-worldly and trip-hoppy but all is redeemed in album closer “Wall of Death” which returns to the familiar crunching and shrieking with passive-aggressive and just downright aggressive lyrics “Fuck you and fuck the cash”. If that’s a statement about their commercial appeal, then it’s not worked as the album is about as commercial as the Prodigy get. Whilst their days of chart-topping singles might be some way in the past and at times the “nasty” might seem more panto villain and just giving us what we expect, the band haven’t given up giving their audience want they want.
“The Day is My Enemy” is released by Take Me to Hospital records and is out now.