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The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

on February 24, 2009, 9:35am

I’ve never been to a rave. Despite this fact, I do find the lure of certain electronic music unavoidably alluring. Though half a generation has passed since The Prodigy broke free of the underground, and found resounding success as a major tour de force in the dance music business, their uncanny ability to take simple beats, multiply them, and splice them together in new and innovative ways has hardly weakened.

Here’s the thing, though. How can a “band” that sold 16 million records making background music for teenaged kids under the spell of ecstasy still be relevant in a day and age where alternative rock has all but reinvigorated its stranglehold on our ears? Or, a world where James Murphy exists?

It’s impossible to expect a groundbreaking effort from an electronic-machine-assisted act whose heyday has all but faded into oblivion, just as Bill Clinton’s power over subordinate women certainly has. That’s why their fifth studio effort, Invaders Must Die, isn’t a surprise by any means. As expected, the new record isn’t an assortment of what made The Prodigy… well, The Prodigy. Instead, it’s a sexily crafted, forty-minute slew of mega-watt beats that could perfectly compliment a pre-party hosted by young people hoping to “score” at the conclusion of the night ahead. It’s just a question of how much “more of the same” you can tolerate before you put Lil’ Wayne back on.

That’s not to say there isn’t something rewarding here. Certainly, Invaders Must Die has some silver medals inside, it just takes some patience…and a stomach for nostalgia.

For example, there’s this whole 1995 thing that washes over a few of the tracks. Towards the beginning, with “Omen”, you almost feel at certain points that you’ve been whisked away to the center of a dazed, perspiring collection of dance-aholics, all finding the cadence in a hook-laden groove. If that’s your bag, then keep tracking away.

Then there’s “Piranha”, a brilliant exception to the largely monolithic album in question. The fusion of smells-like-Detroit-spirit garage rock surfaces just below the electronically blistering surge of the song itself. It’s a nice break from the predominately club-feel of a record that blinds listeners with incendiary homage’s to the glow stick, rather than the essence of Rock and Roll.

Otherwise, the entire album plays like a DJ Set at Club 720.

Invaders Must Die is loaded with reminders about why you first started admitting dance music was your guilty pleasure. If you preferred going to parties scored by indistinguishable house music in the 1990s, rather than donning flannel and hitting up late-night skate parks with Alice In Chains blaring from your head phones, it’s highly suggested you pick up this record. If not, I’d highly advise against it.

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