As the time-lag between Prodigy albums grows ever longer, it is hard to avoid the sense that Liam Howlett has exhausted his narrow range of ear-pummelling, beat-crunching studio tricks.
And yet these veteran Essex electro punks can still surprise – their last album, 2009’s Invaders Must Die, was an agreeable mash-up of post-punk and dubstep influences with added percussive clout from Dave Grohl.
Six years and several title changes later, the band’s sixth album is another uneven mix, but with enough fresh twists and smart cameos to save it from redundancy.
Alongside the obligatory huddle of mindless macho stomps with adolescent titles like Destroy and Rok-Weiler, the title track is a superior buzzsaw rave-pop gallop featuring sultry vocals by sometime-Tricky-collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, while Behind The Death Ray is a Vangelis-sized cinematic techno anthem, and Ibiza a snarly satire on superstar DJs featuring a typically Tourettes-ish rant from Sleaford Mods.
Howlett’s decision to marginalise the boorish chants of Keith and Maxim in favour of female singers and cascading turbo-synth melodies has paid dividends, putting these former bloke-rock bruisers more in touch with their feminine side./o:p