In the early 1990’s, The Prodigy gained notoriety for their visceral sound, and it defined an era. The government and normal masses saw them as a threat, whilst the Essex-based trio continued to thrive and grow in popularity amongst the dance/rave scene. Fast forward to 24 or so years later, and they’ve now become a household name, having the prestige to headline festivals all across the globe. That said, even though the times have changed and their popularity has soared, they haven’t deviated much from what defines their formula.
I guess it depends on what perspective you take here; it’s something you’ll either love, and keep enjoying, or get bored of. Producer Liam Howlett has even gone on record, stating that after 2015’s The Day Is My Enemy, they might ‘stick to releasing EPs’ because making records ‘bores them.’ However, there must have been a change of heart somewhere, because three years later, and we now have another album, in the form of No Tourists. After such statements previously, how does this record fare?
Aggressive electro instantly kicks in with “Need Some1.” As soon as even the first few notes play out, it’s unmistakeably The Prodigy, retaining their trademark sound. Dance rhythms stab from all directions, delivering a sonic attack. Although the nature of it makes it feel more like an intro than a full song. “Light Up The Sky” is an absolute assault of sounds. The layering of electronics and guitar riffs makes this a hard-hitter. At times it feels very reminiscent of “Firestarter” from 1994’s Music for the Jilted Generation. The synth hook even sounds directly ripped from it. It ends a bit too abruptly for my liking. “We Live Forever” is a pleasing old-skool rave dance anthem, and keeps the retro vibes going. The bass feels extremely dirty, making the track really pack a punch. Title track “No Tourists” is the longest on the album, even though it only lasts 4 minutes 18 seconds. An oddly eerie tone sets the scene, before exploding into a sea of pounding beats. It may not be as up-tempo as the rest so far, but it’s no less packed with adrenaline. The style is a really peculiar one, presented like a mash up of James Bond meets gritty techno, but it works pretty damn well! The Heavy reverbing bass in “Fight Fire With Fire” has an eardrum shattering power, and guests artists Ho9909 (pronounced ‘horror’) add an additional ferocity to the track. “Timebomb Zone” has a use of cool synths. These are balnketed to the point where it feels like an absolute monster, almost breaking into progressive house. Meanwhile, on the flip-side, “Champions of London” has a very chaotic feel to it, making a foray into Drum and Bass, with the inclusion of massive urgent breakbeats. “Boom Boom Tap” is vicious, melding together their core sound with elements of EDM-trap, adding a bit of experimentation into the mix. Unfortunately the vocals feel a bit jarring, and this brings down the track a bit. Maxim’s heavily vocoded vocals kick straight in at the start of “Resonate”, leading into what I can only describe as a battering ram of electro beats, channelling dubstep vibes. At times it even has hints of “Invaders Must Die”. Not being ones to go quietly, “Give Me A Signal (feat. Barns Courtney)” gives the record a big finish. High octane thumping beats are blared out, and the overall mood is extremely punk.
With No Tourists, it appears that The Prodigy are as sinister sounding and as visceral as ever. The record is fuelled with adrenaline from start to finish, and drags the listener through until the very end. However, I can’t help but feel that they’re starting to go through the motions somewhat. As gloriously gritty as it all is, it’s easy to pick out the various callbacks to their previous material, and it seems like nostalgia heavily drives the record forward. Again, it depends if you loved their sound in the first place or not, and I feel it’s an enjoyable ride, but it’s not going to do much to appease those who aren’t already die-hard fans. The tracks are snappy, but short, and the runtime is less than 40 minutes long. Maybe this is them gearing up to focus on EPs? As long as the music continues to be as energetic and a lively as it is here, I’ll be happy.
Final Verdict: It’s not going to do much to appease those that aren’t already die-hard fans, but No Tourists is still a visceral adrenaline fuelled ride. What ensues is a sonic attack on all senses, delivering a barrage of hard-hitting dance rhythms.
- Need Some1
- Light Up The Sky
- We Live Forever
- No Tourists
- Fight Fire With Fire (feat. Ho9909)
- Timebomb Zone
- Champions of London
- Boom boom Tap
- Give Me A Signal (feat. Barnes Courtney)