Album review: The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy

At 14 tracks (15 including an iTunes bonus cut Rise of the Eagles), The Day Is My Enemy is at least a third too long. Yet as a body of work it might still convince a few of their intended targets to lay down their laptops.
Keith Flint of dance-scene veterans The Prodigy performing in the UK last July. Joseph Okpako / Redferns via Getty Images
Keith Flint of dance-scene veterans The Prodigy performing in the UK last July. Joseph Okpako / Redferns via Getty Images

The Day Is My Enemy

The Prodigy

(Take Me to the Hospital/­Cooking Vinyl)

Three stars

The rhetoric ahead of The Prodigy’s comeback album has been largely based around the Essex trio surveying the dance-music scene they helped to create and spitting right in its eye, denouncing its safeness and sameness.

That could be viewed as the usual claptrap from has-beens banging on about “the good old days”, middle-aged millionaires unaware of their own obsolescence when faced with the latest musical game-­changers.

It could be viewed that way, except anybody who caught The Prodigy – Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim – detonate Creamfields in Abu Dhabi during their UAE appearance a little more than a year ago will know that they are actually on to something. Compared with them, their predecessor onstage that day, Calvin Harris, a leader of the contemporary generation of superstar DJs, had as much charisma as a bag of wet sand.

Perhaps inevitably, though, that The Prodigy set was mostly powered by classic hits that were 15 to 20 years old. So does The Day Is My Enemy – their first album since 2009’s underwhelming Invaders Must Die – back up their cocksure claims and mark them out as more than just an incendiary live act?

Well, sort of.

Recruiting one of 2015’s most outspoken voices is certainly a good start to their quest – Jason Williamson, the cuttingly uncouth social commentator behind Sleaford Mods, brings ­Ibiza to life with barely disguised disgust.

His target is the “mix on sticks” culture of pre-recorded DJ sets on USB drives, while simultaneously making the word “mate” sound like the most threatening sentence-ender in the English language.

Harking back to 2004’s Always Outnumbered, Never ­Outgunned, big, bolshy, distorted synth lines are order of the day here, from the first bars of the opening title track. The thumping, snake-charming motifs of Rebel Radio and the equally uncompromising Destroy and Wall of Death are destined to turn up the heat at future live shows, too.

It’s not all victories, however. The first single, Nasty, resembles a cartoon parody of the band – “Nasty, nasty/Triple X-rated”, leers Flint, in a hilariously non-scary lyrical display every bit as vacuous as some of the young pretenders they have decried.

And when one of the current crop of dance-floor doyens makes a cameo, in the shape of 26-year-old English producer Flux Pavilion, he fails to represent strongly for “the youth” – Rhythm Bomb doesn’t demand hitting the repeat button.

At 14 tracks (15 including an iTunes bonus cut Rise of the Eagles), The Day Is My Enemy is at least a third too long. Yet as a body of work it might still convince a few of their intended targets to lay down their ­laptops.

aworkman@thenational.ae

Published: March 30, 2015 04:00 AM

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