Friday August 20, 2004
Seven years after The Fat Of The Land album took the Prodigy's quasi-rebellious dance-rock into millions of British houses, they seem to be imploding. Absent here are Keith Flint, the ecstasy-taker's Johnny Rotten, rap/beats man Maxim Reality and, apparently, an album's-worth of scrapped material. With founder Liam Howlett again manning the controls, the press release trumpets a "return to their breakbeat grooves", which is one way of spinning a collection of good grooves with little in the way of tunes. Three out of 12 work- the zippy hip-hop of Spitfire, Girls' retro-electro montage and, particularly, Wake Up Call, Kool Keith's blistering rap about, er, going on tour. The rest sounds hurried or half-baked. Where Music For The Jilted Generation once captured a Criminal Justice Bill-zeitgeist, here Middle Eastern-sounding snatches try to say something but Howlett hasn't worked out what. Right now, pop is more excited about sharp young guitar bands than muddled-thinking dance veterans, a situation that Always Outnumbered won't change.