The first and most important thing to point out about this album is that it
contains both "Firestarter" and "Breathe". If you
bought both of these singles, it probably is not worth your while buying the
album, as they are by far the best things on it. However, apart from two of
the best singles of the year, this is what else is on it:
The album starts off with "Smack My Bitch Up." This is presumably
some kind of attempt at irony, but there is none in evidence in the two lines
"Change my picture, Smack my bitch up", musically it's a
hodge-podge of style like something from "..Jilted Generation"
with more guitars and some Asian vocals like the Sisters of Mercy's
"Temple of Love".
The rest of it is similar, a cross between the band's earlier stuff and
industrial techno. They've beefed up the drum beats, toughened the vocals
and added a lot more distorted guitars. It is a bad sign for the Prodigy
when the stand out new track is "Narayan", which features the
vocals of Crispin Mills (why?). It is even worse when the track sounds more
like a Prodigy remix of Kula Shaker than one of their own tracks.
All through the album there are bits that seem recognisable, a Nine Inch
Nails bit here, a Ministry bit there. The band seem to have decided to
become industrial without coming up with any new ideas. The last track, a
cover of L7's "Fuel My Fire", sounds too much like the Butthole
Surfers for its own good. However, when the band try going back to straight
dance music, as on the trancey "Climbatize", it just sounds boring.
It is a pity, the energy and promise of "Breathe" and
"Firestarter" were all that the Prodigy really have to offer, after
that there's really nothing else.
by Donnacha DeLong