RECORDS: REVIEWS

ROCK

Prodigy: The Fat Of The Land (XL, CD/LP/tape). Have Scary Prodigy, Scarier Prodigy, Tall Prodigy, and Prodigy Who Actually Makes the Records missed their moment? It's been a year since "Firestarter" and seven months since "Breathe", so the Essex boys' revolutionary formula is now more than familiar: head-spinning beats, headbanging guitars, electronic squelches that skid from speaker to speaker, and enough sounds to make 1994's Mercury- nominated Music For the Jilted Generation seem malnourished. Prodigy (the "the" seems to have been dropped) may have played their best cards too early in the game. Certainly, nothing on Fat of the Land matches the classic "Breathe"; and "Serial Thriller" is simply "Firestarter" Part II, with Keith Flint shouting, "Youth corrupter" instead of "Twisted firestarter!" And when Maxim spends much of "Mindfields" insisting that "this is dangerous!", you wonder whether Prodigy's lyrical arm will ever stretch further than telling us what a frightening bunch they are. Take the regrettably titled "Smack My Bitch Up" into consideration, and the guest vocals of Crispian from Kula Shaker and Saffron from Repubblica, and The Fat of the Land doesn't quite add up to the work of unassailable genius we'd hoped for. But I'm speaking relatively. The singles are still overwhelming, the brilliant "Climbatise" is an epic mid-air collision of bongos, cheesey organ chords and foghorn saxophones, and, on a cover of L7's "Fuel My Fire", Flint has lots of fun completing his metamorphosis into a Stars in Their Eyes Johnny Rotten. The slight disap- pointment brought on by the feeling that you know the album before you hear it gives way to the urge to jump around the room pretending you've had your tongue pierced. Nicholas Barber

CLASSICAL

Lowell Liebermann: Piano Concertos. Stephen Hough/ BBC Scottish SO/Liebermann (Hyperion, CD). Stephen Hough has made a triumphant career out of lesser- known romantic piano repertory, and when his recording of the Hummel Concertos took the Gramophone award for overall best release of 1996, Hyperion moved fast to get him back in the studio for this rush-released disc - which sounds to me like yet another winner in a comparable genre. Lowell Liebermann belongs to the thirtysomething generation of American composers whose work doesn't travel much to Europe but turns heads when it does. Last year his opera The Picture of Dorian Gray premiered at Monte Carlo; and its distinctive brand of radical conservatism - tonal, tuneful to the point of outrage - is mirrored in the two concertos here. The first is hard-edged, with an almost modern-Russian tartness, clipped skeletal textures, and what Hough's illuminating sleeve note calls a "lanky, adolescent athleticism". Like Ravel, it glitters, the emotion more implied than unconditionally upfront. No 2 is more upholstered - old Russian rather than new - and with a grandeur that sounds oddly like Vaughan Williams being epic-visionary. But it's the Vaughan Williams of Sinfonia Antartica not Lark Ascending, blown by chill winds. And although the romanticism of the writing is whole-hearted, it's too elegantly crafted to be self-indulgent. Ears attuned to coruscating novelty will no doubt close against it; but for me it's fascinating, bold and fresh - a visit to the past without the smell of the museum. It's a gift for Hough, whose playing is stylish and assured. The BBC Scottish, under the composer's baton, offer clean, strong sound. And with some wickedly sophisticated solo items from Liebermann's Album for the Young as a filler-epilogue, it makes one of the most oddly attractive issues of the year so far. If it does for Liebermann what the last disc did for Hummel, we'll be hearing more of him in due course. Michael White

JAZZ

Mel Torme : That's All (Sony CD). Mid-60s mix of Torme's divine crooning and some decidely cheesy backings from an orchestra with strings arranged by Robert Mersey. A set of peerless ballads includes the pipe and the slippers anthem to end them all, "The Folks Who Live On The Hill". Phil Johnson

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

    £55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

    English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

    Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

    SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week