THE PRODIGY The Day Is My Enemy
Can it be six years already? It doesn't seem that long since the Prodigy issued “Invaders Must Die”. But then again, indeterminably long waits between albums seem not just the normal, we almost expect them. And there's so much happening these days, so many things, that long gaps just... happen. As I get older, time speeds up, a month is no longer an eternity, a year may take the exact same time to pass through, but the period between years – that is, the percentage of a life lived that a year takes, is no longer 5% but 2%, and history makes a mere year seem less time than it is. The Day Is My Enemy is The Prodigy's umpteenth album, and yet only their third in the past eighteen years – after all, the enormous success of “The Fat Of The Land” burdened the band with a creative constipation that saw them grind to a halt for a period, and now, though you might not think it, the band are carrying on as if well, nothing has changed. It's better, easily, than many of their previous records, armed with the same unassailable DNA as their past work.
Aroudn the time of “The Fat Of The Land”, the band condensed, solidified, and put to bed their earlier incarnation as a semi-rave act, instead – and especially with the presciently titled “Music For A Jilted Generation” - gave themselves a final template. On paper it shouldn't work, an unholy marriage of Ramones and AC/DC style riffing armed with frantic rhythms, and short, stuttering melodies. Certainly, none of these songs will ever make arms aloft, delicate ballads in acoustic sets. From the opening, and angry, title track, followed by the relentless triple thump of “Nasty”, “Rebel Radio” and “Ibiza”, it's the sound of an ADHD child left alone with a box of electronic tricks. “Ibiza” sounds just like the place of its name. A brutal, and harsh, hangover of loud noise, and vicious personalities. I'm too old for the actual Ibiza, and I never liked the place anyway. Even at 21, I went on holiday to get sleep and quiet, not to get trashed and vomit onto sunkissed pavements. (I think, in retrospect, I got being a teenager wrong). With Sleaford Mods on the mic, “Ibiza” is the sort of angry vitriol that would come from a man out of place inside a land he has outgrown. In some respects, nudging 50 now, the Prodigy no longer belong – the music they make is an old mans game, and yet, like The Rolling Stones and Metallica, the Prodge are frozen in a musical amber, forever the late 90's. The etchnology may have changed, the sounds be clearer, the tech cheaper, but there's little on this no one can't make at home on a laptop. And yet, it all comes down, at the end to the material. No one writes songs like “The Wild Frontier”, and “Beyond The Death Ray”. Which is good and bad. Liam Howlett and the rest of the band, though the Prodigy are largely an extension of his identity, make music designed to play at loud volume out of car speakers, and yet, also, somehow, simultaneously enjoyed in the confines of headphones. There's little in the way of reflection, or consideration, The Day Is My Enemy is yet another all-out sonic battle waged on the listener. It may be the work of a extremely rich man who enjoys a comfortable life, and in that respect, it breaks no new ground and offers nothing you haven't already heard, but at the same time, it's a new Prodigy album, and no one else in the universe sounds quite like they do.