The Prodigy

Invaders Must Die

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Twenty years after England's Summer of Love, rave had made a comeback -- at least in indie circles -- and Liam Howlett's Prodigy, the only original rave group still going (anyone remember Altern-8?), could hardly have done worse than jump aboard. But Invaders Must Die is a curious nu-rave record, as though the sound of 1991 (such as their Top Ten hit "Charly") has been filtered through the sound of 1996 (such as their number one, "Firestarter") to emerge as nothing more than a hodgepodge of uptempo dance music with extroverted beats and grimy basslines. If that sounds basically like your average electronica record circa the turn of the millennium (albeit produced by one of its greatest heroes), then you're a long way towards understanding what this nu-rave record from the Prodigy sounds like. Add a few period-appropriate cues -- unfiltered synth or keyboard runs, ring-the-alarm effects, samples of divas or ragga chatters (sped-up and slowed-down, respectively) -- and you get a strange album indeed. The single "Omen" is a good example, although it has few qualities to recommend it beyond its basic energy; tellingly, it's a rare co-production, with James Rushent from Does It Offend You, Yeah?. The other two tracks with the most rave signals are "Take Me to the Hospital" and "Warrior's Dance," which both sound like follow-ups to "Charly" or "Out of Space" filtered through the darkside strains of latter-day hardcore techno (aka 4Hero's "Mr. Kirk's Nightmare"). And as usual with the Prodigy -- going back to Music for the Jilted Generation -- there's plenty of polemics and struggle, most of it delivered in shouted, sloganeering fashion by Keith Flint and Maxim (who are both back in the fold after being absent from the previous Prodigy record, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned). Howlett is no slouch in the production chair, and the sounds are mostly blinding, but the songs are strictly by-the-books.

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