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Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

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Album Review

The Prodigy's main man, Liam Howlett, said in an interview that usual bandmembers Keith Flint and Maxim weren't on the new album because this is a back-to-the-core record, one to find the soul of the Prodigy (dancer Leeroy Thornhill left the band years ago — losing your dancer, always crippling). For anyone rooting for the band, it sounded like a good deal. Howlett came off as a mad beat scientist of great genius on his goin'-it-alone CD The Dirtchamber Sessions, Vol. 1, rockin' the beats with mad style and blowing the dust off Babe Ruth's "The Mexican" just to prove how he was cooler than you. It was a sweet mix, but then nothing — and then it got worse. But at least Howlett himself called 2002's dull "Baby's Got a Temper" single an F'n piece of S. Seems like he was well aware things were going wrong and has gotten himself back on the right track, so let's all go nuts for Prodigy again. There's an inspired list of guest stars on the album — Princess Superstar, Kool Keith, Liam Gallagher, Twista, Juliette Lewis — and Howlett is working hard throughout, twiddling the knobs and making noises fly every which way. "Girls" is a good electro roller, the surprisingly different and slinky "Phoenix" is proof Howlett hasn't lost it, and you're bound to fall for at least one of the generic fist pumpers, as they do have that whipping sting in the tail of which Howlett is the master. Unfortunately, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned isn't the success 1997's Fat of the Land was. It's steps ahead of the "Baby's Got a Temper" single and worth it for the faithful, but not up to the old standards.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Braintree, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Prodigy navigated the high wire, balancing artistic merit and mainstream visibility with more flair than any electronica act of the 1990s. Ably defeating the image-unconscious attitude of most electronic artists in favor of a focus on nominal frontman Keith Flint, the group crossed over to the mainstream of pop music with an incendiary live experience that approximated the original atmosphere of the British rave scene even while leaning uncomfortably close to arena rock showmanship and punk theatrics....
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