The Prodigy – No Tourists

A series of big beats in search of a big hook.
Label: BMG
Released: 2nd November 2018
Rating: ★★★

Since their emergence during the peak of early-90s rave culture, The Prodigy have stayed firmly within their own landscape and avoided chasing trends. Even as the cultural stars aligned over ‘The Fat Of The Land’ as it crossed over into the mainstream, there was always a sense that the band would be happier returning to the underground. So it has proved with the few releases that have followed (this being only the fourth studio album in two decades), and this latest proves no exception.

The opening ‘Need Some1’ sets the pace, all jagged rave riffs jostling for position with a Loleatta Holloway sample, before the synth-punk sounds of ‘Light Up The Sky’ crash through. Skull-cracking beats squelch and pound, those familiar sped-up vocals kick in. It manages to all sound exactly how you would expect a new album from The Prodigy in 2018 to sound, but thankfully it (mostly) avoids recycling old beats. As usual, there is a malevolent edge to much here – even more so on the title track, built on top of a haunting horror movie-style motif that will have you casting a nervous eye over your shoulder.

While the likes of the surging ‘Timebomb Zone’ or the pulsating ‘Boom Boom Tap’ threaten to explode, it isn’t until Ho99o9 arrive that the record really takes off. Their collaboration on ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ is one of the few moments where attitude and atmosphere really gel into something memorable. Sadly it isn’t replicated elsewhere, leaving instead a series of big beats in search of a big hook to hang from. Tourists might be banned, but there’s not much new for them to come and see anyway.

Jamie MacMillan

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