NME

Never Mind The Bullocks!

The Prodigy's long awaited third album, 'The Fat Of The Land', will finally be released on June 30th - even though Liam Howlett is still writing one track.

Howlett missed the first official playback of the album's completed tracks last Thursday (May 15th) because he was busy in the studio working on what he considers to be a definate single. Representatives of the band's labels around the world were flown from London by helicopter to a farm in Hertfordshire, where six tracks were played through The Prodigy's live PA in a 16th century barn.

'The Fat Of The Land' looks set to feature ten tracks including the Number One singles, 'Firewstarter' and 'Breathe'. The most notable of these features Crispian Mills and is similar in mood to The Chemical Brothers' collaboration with Noel Gallagher, 'Setting Sun'. However, The Prodigy track was recorded first and originally titled 'Western Sun'. It has now been renamed 'Nuayran' (not, apparently, 'Nu Aryan') and features Mills singing, "If you believe the western sun/ Is falling down on everyone/You're being burned/Don't try to run/You're being burned/Your time has come," before chanting a long mantra.

The general mood of the record continues the strong rock and hip-hop influence of the last two singles, in contrast to their more rave-influenced first two albums. Rapper Kool Keith (who released an album on Mo'Wax last year under his Dr Octagon pseudonym) guests on the most straightforward hip-hop track, 'Diesel Power', which is reminiscent of Howlett's remix of Method Man's 'Release Yo'Delf'. Kool Keith's former band, The Utramagnetic MCs, are also heavily sampled along with Sheila Chandra on another track, 'Smack My Bitch Up', which is considered as a possible single.

'Funky Shit' is more techno-influenced and predicatably, features a plethora of old funk samples, while 'Minefield' - originally slated as the follow-up to 'Firestarter' - showcases Maxim and is, again, strongly hip-hop flavoured. Saffron from Republica duets with Keith Flint on 'Fuel My Fire', an extreme punk-metal cover of the L7 song. Although The Prodigy recorded with Skin from Skunk Anansie last year, the results will not feature on the album.

The Sleeve of 'The Fat Of The Land' depicts a close-up of a crab with it's claws raised. The original atrwork - a kebab skewer with the album title carved in the meat - was dropped after after the realization that it resembled the cover of the Dogy's 'Free Peace Sweet' (where the title was carved in the back of a tree). The CD booklet also includes a caricature of The Prodigy by VOX and NME cartoonist Jake.

Guests at the exlusive playback were ferried to the farm in helicopters branded with The Prodigy's spider logo Later, they were treated to a speech by the farm's middle-aged farmer about the merits of the band while he paraded his prize bull before a crowdof bemused record company executives. No member of the band managed to make the journey over from Essex.

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