Prodigy * Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (cd 2004 xl recordings)

It has been seven years since the previous ‘real’ album of (the) Prodigy. The logo on their new cd does have the “the” again and the website is theprodigy.com. The new single “Girls” didn’t really convince me and this album has been postphoned so often that I had no idea what to expect from it anymore, but still I was curious enough to quickly get the new album now it is finally out. I must say, it really doesn’t disappoint me! The album opens with a promising “Spitfire”. After this the track “Girls” doesn’t even sound so bad and among the rest of the songs there are a couple of great and a few good ones. “Songs” is a good description for the tracks by the way. Much more than before vocals can be heard. They are by different people, mostly distorted and give several of the tracks a ‘punky’ feeling, a bit like the older track ‘People Like You (just fuel my fire)’. For the rest I have the idea that the album is less danceble than previous albums. The tracks are mostly build around ‘big beat’ kind of rhythms like in the track “Diesel Power” or “Smack My Bitch Up”, but maybe a bit less energetic than the last named track. However the music sometimes reminds me a bit too much of alternative (but popular in certain circles) techno anarchists like the Chicks On Speed, Prodigy of course also come with their (his?) own ideas with funny rhythms and strange samples and sounds. ‘Back to the 80’ies’ is a description of the cd as well with 80’ies artwork and disco and wave influences. All in all maybe not totally surprising, but surely not a copy of their earlier work. As a matter of fact, there is a definate development in the sound, but the cd still became a real Prodigy album. -10/9/04-

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