Though 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' may lack the immediacy of their earlier...
Lisa Haines 2004-08-17
Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned sees producer Liam Howlett slap home with this hook-ridden new album! It's a sexy makeover, with uninhibited bassy beep noises that hark back to the heady days of the British rave scene.
Once again there's plenty here for fans of rock music. The Prodigy's link between rock and dance is as enthusiastic as ever, forging an electronic bridge to the muddied hordes.
And there's bonafide Hollywood glamour in the form of movie-star actress Juliette Lewis, who does a winsome take on PJ Harvey on stand-out track "Hot Ride". It's an energetic number, with urgent venom reminiscent of earlier Prodigy outings.
The very same actress greets us as we enter the album's sinister little lair. Lewis can be heard sighing alluringly over the dirty-bass of opener "Spitfire", while sirens scream 'danger, beware'. But the glamour doesn't end there. The Gallagher brothers lend their charming aggression to closing track "Shoot Down" with Liam on vocals and Noel on bass.
More than anything, it suggests Oasis can do punk when pushed. Marvel as Howlett does battle with Kool Keith on "Wake Up Call", a sturdy foil to the exuberant raps and old-skool hip-hop on "Girls", featuring disco-punks The Ping Pong Bitches.
This album shows The Prodigy's willingness to experiment with their historical formula of dance and punk. Fans of the band may complain that they've been in the wilderness far too long. So long, in fact,that new acts have raised the bar, meaning they can no longer claim to be as exciting and different as they once were.
Woefully absent is the ghoulish Keith Flint, with his pierced face and spiky hair, who horrified young children as he chanted "Firestarter" on Top of the Pops. But that doesn't diminish the irrepressible flair so apparent here.
Though Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned may lack the immediacy of their earlier malice, this is a still a veritable storm of apt samples, grumbling percussion and memorable riffs.