The Firestarter! The Prodigy's 1997 album, The Fat Of The Land, was eagerly anticipated on both sides of the pond. Liam Howlett's breakbeat techno group had already found success in the UK with Music For The Jilted Generation, but they were yet to fully crossover in the US. That all would change with the success of the singles "Firestarter" and "Breathe." The videos were both in heavy rotation on MTV, made ever more iconic by the inclusion of the uniquely coifed vocalist, Keith Flint. But Howlett's production is the real star of the album. His beats smack with their inherent power, especially on tracks like "Serial Thriller" and the controversial "Smack My Bitch Up." Surprisingly, the more hip hop leaning tracks seem to be where Howlett is at his best. The Kool Keith featuring "Diesel Power" is one of the standouts of the album. Elsewhere, the big beat psychedelia of "Narayan" speaks to the producer's breadth. Ultimately, The Fat Of The Land showed that there was more to The Prodigy than "Firestarter" and Keith Flint's hair.
- music label: XL Recordings 1997 / 2012
reviewed by Le Haim 01/2015
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