Facemelters at the ready! Essex ravers The Prodigy’s Army Of The Ants tour includes a stopoff at Cardiff Utilita Arena this month, with support in the form of Soft Play (previously known as Slaves). Last year saw the band return for their first live performances since the death of their vocalist and dancer Keith Flint in 2019 – expect this next run of shows to feature tributes to the unforgettable frontman. In the meantime, Emma Way whittles their catalogue down to a tight five…
Released as a single ahead of The Prodigy’s third album, 1997’s The Fat Of The Land, Firestarter confirmed the band as a squealing, twitching, non-conforming presence in late 90s pop. With the menacing voice of Keith Flint proclaiming himself as the worst of individuals, (“The bitch you hated / Filth infatuated”), the Guardian ranked the song number eight on their list of ‘The 100 Greatest UK No 1 Singles’ in 2020.
2. Invaders Must Die
First impressions are everything, and the title track to the band’s fifth studio album is a tension-building number engulfed in echo and atmospherics. Here, The Prodigy manages to incorporate punk, hip-hop and rave with thunderous breakbeats, teethgrinding synth and the stark yet effective opening: “We are The Prodigy!” As if they even needed an introduction…
Another feature from The Fat Of The Land, the music video for Breathe features an instantly recognisable Keith Flint, his fluorescent green and purple spiked into horns. The single became the band’s second consecutive UK number one, and in the 90s became a freedom anthem for Serbia’s urban youth after the outfit performed to a sold-out Pionir Hall in Belgrade.
Recognisable from the soundtrack for 2010 dark comedy Kick-Ass, Omen mixed the 90s techno sounds of The Fat Of The Land with acidic samples and a melodic topline unlike anything The Prodigy had made previously. It was five years since they’d released a new album, but that was soon forgotten when Invaders Must Die graced music store shelves in 2009, spawning some of the collective’s biggest hits to date.
5. Voodoo People
Borrowing the guitar riff from Nirvana’s 1993 track Very Ape, Voodoo People is a rave classic taken from The Prodigy’s second album, Music For The Jilted Generation. The Chemical Brothers – under their original name, The Dust Brothers, before the American production team they pinched it from had a word – also slow down the track for a notable B-side remix.
The Prodigy, Utilita Arena Cardiff, Tue 21 Nov.
Tickets: £57.50. Info: here
words EMMA WAY