Published Oct 31, 2018It's hard to believe the Prodigy will be celebrating a 30th anniversary soon, and there's something comforting in the knowledge that they've continued to soldier on, releasing albums of reliably grimy and confrontational big beat electronic every four or five years.
It's truly a genre of yore at this point, and the stylistic conviction of Liam Howlett and crew is worthy of respect. While Keith Flint and vocal partner Maxim aren't as prominent as they sometimes are on this outing, the bludgeoning beats and aggressive synths remain, with perhaps even a bit of classic rock swagger thrown in early on.
Mostly however, this is classic Prodigy as you've known them for the last 20 years or so, and how you feel about that assessment will probably be a good indicator for how much you'll enjoy No Tourists.
Things start out solidly enough with "Need Some1," which features a breaking glass sound just like the one in "Break and Enter," which opened the band's pre-breakthrough (and arguably best) album, 1994's Music for the Jilted Generation. It's a knowingly slick touch, earning some early goodwill that never truly dissipates. (The synths in following track "Light Up the Sky" are ripped straight from "Voodoo People" as well, if you're into that.)
Shortly after, the imposing strings of the title track add some "Kashmir"-lite grandeur to the proceedings, setting it apart from the rest of the album, and late album highlight "Boom Boom Tap" has an amusingly goofy vibe, although its climactic "fuck you" lyric right before the beat hits probably isn't supposed to be funny.
Less appealing are the self-consciously "hard" tracks like "Champions of London," an aspect of the Prodigy's style that hasn't aged well; it's the stuff of WWE intros and energy drink commercials. That said, if you don't mind a little bit of posturing with your bone-cracking beats (and the beats throughout are certainly as solid as any Howlett has written), then No Tourists has you covered — but the title says it all: This one's for the locals. (BMG)