Completely, Absolutely, Gobsmackingly dazzling. This people, is Mozart at the wheel of a monster truck. Its Earthquake directed by the Coen brothers. It is purepleasure siphoned from the adrenal gland and shot into the cerebral cortex through a titanium syringe. It is not just good, It’s so good that it is impossible to take it allin at once. Just let your jaw hang loose for awhile. This is rock n’ roll as it now stands. When it gets into the pool, everything else leaves in a hurry. Including thewater. It is the fat of the land, the album that ate the world. This thing is Godzilla with THE FUNK. It is a brand new greatest hits album from a band whose formwas already blinding. It will blow your mind and grind the pieces into the carpet under its size 14 boots. I like it.
Firestarter and Breathe, the two most addictive albums of the last 18 months, are on here, along with a clutch of other tracks that sound just like them, only better. Even the one with Kula Shaker’s preposterous Crispian Mills on it is brilliant, suggesting that what he needed all along, apart from a smack in the mouth and a crashcourse in the links between new-age mysticism and the Nazis, was a Liam Howlett production job. Liam is one of the great pop masterminds of the nineties.
RZA is hard as nails and brutally modern, Tricky bounces off the inner walls of the cosmos with devastating originality, but only Liam manages to be this instant, this sharp, this energised all at once. He has the delicate finesse of a laser-guided butterfly, the power of one of the 18-wheeled Seddon Atkinson behemoths whose logohe has adopted, the groove instincts of a metronome with sex on its tick-tock mind.
Techno can be sexless, hardcore, frequently functional; rap sometimes overly repetitive, punk strained and tinny; heavy mental grandiose and posturing, funk-rockbludgeoning and graceless. The Prodigy streamline the best of all these into a sleek studded noise that incites you to fight, fuck, riot, dance and grin like a grizzly bearin honeycomb heaven. Thankfully, this is not some hideous fusion or hybrid; only on the closing punk update Fuel My Fire does it come even close. The Prodigy sound, developed over this and the last album, might as well have plummeted fully-formed from the sky – That’s how far they are from an awkward exercise ingrafting.
The beats are neither conventional breaks, loops nor patterns, but inexorable streams of rhythm punctured with gasps, shocks and heart-stopping milliseconds ofsilence. They are so viciously funky and shit-kicking that when, for instance, ex-ultramagnetic MC Kool Keith (also known as Dr. Octagon these days) does a turnon the throbbing, gargantuan Diesel Power, it feels as if hip hop has been written a whole new chapter.
Smack My Bitch Up (best title of the year and counting) and Serial Thrilla are as mighty and fiendishly catchy as the last two singles, Funky Shit deserves its titlemore than any other song has ever done, and Mindfields is so wondrously ludicrous it merits some kind of medal. The band themselves are so cute and cuddly, soendearingly, unassailably British, that they’re no more capable of smacking up a bitch, whether it means slapping a woman or sticking a needle into a prison “wife”, than they are of flying to Pluto for the day. The power is all in the words, the popping rhythm and startling meaning of the syllables set against the rabbit punch of thebeats. The songs have a sly, droll humour to them which tacitly admits that all the threats of violence, arson, madness and treason are for effect – That their effect liesin knowing that they’re for effect.
The Prodigy are the greatest show on earth, even on record. If you can’t have some kind of fun listening to The Fat Of The Land, if it doesn’t make you glad to beliving right now, just so you’ve had the chance to hear it, then you deserve to be time-warped back to the days before dentistry and bass bins. The late 20th centuryis the best time there’s ever been, and here’s one more reason why. Dazzling.