THE PRODIGY // "NO TOURISTS" - ALBUM REVIEW
THE PRODIGY RETURN WITH BRAND NEW ALBUM ‘NO TOURISTS’
To say the Prodigy have not really updated their sound is to miss the point. Like their distant cousins in electronic music Erasure and Depeche Mode they have spent their career honing a particular sonic oeuvre, and their seventh album, ‘No Tourists’, ranks among the best work within it.
Their sound is completely unmistakable, encompassing hard house, rave MCing, spiky power chords and smashy vintage drum patches. Melodically, nearly every song uses ascending or descending chromatic patterns alongside blippy countermelodies to generate nauseating and menacing mayhem.
It transports you directly into a rave under a motorway flyover in 1994, complete with glow sticks, white boy dreadlocks and those weird furry boot things that pilled up girls used to wear.
There are standout moments on ‘No Tourists’ but, frankly, it’s all good. Both opener Need Some1 and When We Live Forever arrive with crazed intensity and intense space-worm animalism, yet one of the best things about this album is the balance of composed music and samples.
Light Up the Sky navigates this handsomely - there is an auto-tuned vocal grab that uses the same techniques as their early hit, Outer Space, but somehow manages to update the sound without trashing it.
A lot of the urgency, meanwhile, comes from the speed of the music. The Prodigy are essentially a techno ac, but the beats they employ are groovy big beat - the domain of Fatboy Slim and ‘90s Chemical Brothers. The distinctive difference with ‘No Prisoners’ is that they run about five bpm faster. It’s invasive, hypnotic and potentially unlistenable if you’re in the wrong mood.
But its listenability is one of the most surprising things about ‘No Tourists’. This is balls to the wall music of high, high quality. Are they a nostalgia act? Maybe. But there’s nothing wrong with your music generating a rich sense of time and place if it keeps innovating.