The Prodigy's No Tourists: What You Need To Know
When The Prodigy's most recent album The Day Is My Enemy arrived in 2015, it had been six years since their last full-length offering and, to hear Liam Howlett tell it, looked likely to be their last: “Basically I don't feel like I want to do any more albums because they just take too long,” he told Mixmag shortly after the release of their 2015 LP. “It takes too long to get the music out to fans, it takes too long for us. We want to do something that can turn around quicker.”
Luckily for their fans, however, the group appear to have had a change of heart and after a period of frenetic creativity over the last couple of years, Howlett and co. soon realised they had nearly an album's worth of new material ready to go. In September last year, the band signed up with BMG, who announced that a new album would arrive “early in 2018”. That album, the band's seventh in total, was eventually announced in July this year and makes its arrival in stores today. It's called No Tourists, here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
Since the release of The Day Is Enemy, The Prodigy have been touring hard and Howlett admits that a lot of the writing for the new album has been done on the road this time around. Although the majority of the album was recorded at Tileyard Studios in London's King's Cross, some of that has taken place on the road too, with Howlett telling Billboard recently that they'd “recorded Keith’s vocals for the track 'Champions Of London' in a hotel room in Belgium.”
Howlett also says of the album that it was written with their live performances in mind and described the process of recording No Tourists as “the most intense studio time I've ever had.”
Who's producing it?
As always with The Prodigy, everything is being produced by the group's musical mastermind Liam Howlett.
Any special guests?
Just a couple: Hip-hop duo Ho99o9 put in an appearance on 'Fight Fire With Fire' and singer-songwriter Barns Courtney contributes to the album's closing track 'Give Me A Signal'.
What does it sound like?
Howlett revealed in the aforementioned Billboard interview that fans listening to the new album “will hear the early Prodigy sounds coming back a bit”, and in places it's easy to see what he means: on 'We Live Forever' Howlett borrows a vocal sample from Ultramagnetic MCs track 'Critical Beatdown', which happens to be the very same track he sampled on their 1992 hit 'Out of Space', immediately helping to conjure the feeling of their early output.
Elsewhere though, on tracks like 'Need Some1' and 'Fight Fire With Fire', there's the more familiar combination of mangled, squelching synths, huge hip-hop beats and distorted guitar riffs that have been key ingredients of their sound ever since their 1996 album Fat of the Land. 'Light Up The Sky' is perhaps the track that combines all of these elements to their most devastating effect and sounds like a distillation of their last two decades into three and a half furious minutes.
Does it deliver?
You'll find pretty much everything you'd want and expect from a Prodigy album on No Tourists, which feels more like a fine-tuning of their sound than something more exploratory. The landscape of dance music has evolved and expanded enormously since those early years when The Prodigy were amongst those dragging dance music kicking and screaming into the mainstream, but even now they occupy a space all of their own.
While it'd be nice to see Howlett and co. branching out a little more into new territory, there's still nobody else doing what they do with the same level of intensity and if all you want from The Prodigy is more of the face-melting bangers they've made their trademark, you won't find much to complain about here.