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Prodigy - Their Law: The Singles 1990-2005
(XL Recordings)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 7, 2006

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The idea of crossing Rage Against the Machine's insistence with a rave's explosiveness is a rarely combined kaleidoscope. Yet it is the unconventional formula that took Prodigy to the top of the British charts, pleasing both hardcore rock and dance fans, while showing that the seemingly separate worlds can be harmoniously combined. Such a statement also led to over a dozen consecutive singles in the top 20, placing the group amongst the most lauded electronic artists of the past decade and a half.

During the Liam Howlett-led organization's tenure thus far, its most fruitful commercial release was The Fat of the Land, the troupe's third in all that featured the club craze "Smack My Bitch Up." Of course that cut anchors this retrospective collection, as does the additional breakthrough "Firestarter," though there's plenty of underground triumphs included as well. Tracks like the sultry "No Good (Start the Dance)" and the punkish rebellion of "Voodoo People" take techno to a festival filling level, while still appealing to aggressive rockers. Even more interesting are alums from its most recent offering Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned, a record steeped in electro-trash rhythms and muscular pulsations that also signaled a critical comeback for the gang. "Spitfire" and "Girls" are arguably the liveliest, most unrelenting and progressive material Prodigy's laid down since the early 1990s.

Aside from the primary disc, a second installment features several repeated tracks in the live format, along with a handful of prominent remixes. Though diehards are likely to be attracted to these bonus versions, in some cases they simply don't stand up to the originals. The several concert cuts (including "Firestarter" and "Spitfire") fail to unfold with studio slickness, which in Prodigy's case is an essential ingredient to its success. Furthermore, remixes of "Voodoo People" and "Out of Space" become redundant and were actually better off in their initial incarnation. But rather than dwelling on these distractions, the focus should turn back towards the first feature, which adequately culls together Prodigy's most beloved tracks in one convenient place that can also serve as a stellar introduction point for these influential trendsetters.

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