Big beat pioneers The Prodigy had previously stated that after 2015’s ‘The Day Is My Enemy’, the group would no longer deliver full-length releases. Surprisingly, the Essex trio back-pedal on their word a bit and drop seventh record, ‘No Tourists’, consisting of ten tracks touching on all elements of their nearly 30-year career.
Bursting at full speed, ‘Need Some1’ rips through acid synth leads and punishing percussion. Hitting the usual trademarks from the group, siren samples and distorted bass lines attack with fury. Flitting between loose breaks and sliding synth notes, the track opens with a bang and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Touching on shades of the stages of their early career, ‘We Live Forever’ takes Moog synth leads and throws them into an industrial blender, and choppy trance chords fight against layers of drum and bass patterns. The bridge becomes a welcome turn towards a sparse chord progression before delving back into juddering synths.
Arguably the song that spearheaded this release, ‘Fight Fire With Fire’, stands tall above the other tracks. Built upon a bed of thick distorted bass lines and Liam Howlett‘s signature drum sound, the track falls back to allow contributors Ho99o9 to hypnotise the listener.
It highlights that the album is at its strongest when Howlett takes a step back, allowing the motifs to take shape, as tracks such as ‘Light Up The Sky’ ultimately suffer from a lack of space.
Considering that over the course of three albums the group’s sound hasn’t evolved all too much, it’s refreshing to hear new avenues being presented. ‘Champions Of London’ plays around with glitched vocals in different rhythms and touches upon ambient flavours.
Late into the album, ‘Boom Boom Tap’ injects some energy and intrigue with bouncing brass synths taking the lead alongside a twisted melody that weaves in and out of the track. The dynamics stop the hook from meandering, using muted guitars and 80s inspired samples to keep interest.
Whilst the group have recaptured the energy from previous releases, such as ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’, compositionally a few tracks suffer. Previously Howlett explained that ‘No Tourists’ was intended to capture the energy of their live shows, and with that mission in mind they have succeeded.
Whilst fans of their early work will enjoy the album highlights, ‘No Tourists’ is definitely an album far more suited for those that enjoy the work of ‘Invaders Must Die’ onwards.