Miles Kane, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ – Album Review
With his second solo album, Miles Kane cements his status as the heir apparent to the throne of all things “Britpop.” From his teenage rumblings in the Little Flames and the Rascals through his collaboration with Arctic Monkeys main man Alex Turner on the now-classic Last Shadow Puppets album ‘The Age Of the Understatement,’ Kane has been slowly shaping himself into a first rate songwriter and performer.
On his debut outing, 2011’s ‘The Colour Of the Trap,’ Kane continued the traditions set forth by like-minded souls from Marc Bolan through to Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher with a rocking set of melodic pop rockers. This time, he kicks things off with the seductive ‘Taking Over,’ which lurches in with a T. Rex-ian groove before merging head on into Buzzcocks-like rush, then back again.
After that emphatic introduction, the mood is carried on with the album’s title cut, which sails in on a bouncing rhythm and incorporates a rousing sing-along chorus. ‘Better Than That’ gets a Motown-inspired beat going; it grooves and stomps its way right into one’s heart. The ultra-catchy chorus wins again here. The song is one of a handful co-written by Kane with elusive former XTC leader Andy Partridge, who lends his always glorious pop sensibility.
‘Out Of Control’ has elements of ‘Hunky Dory’-era Bowie piled onto a plate of ‘Morning Glory’-era Oasis, with its dominant use of acoustic guitars, making for a simply beautiful track. ‘Bombshells’ is shimmering pristine pop, while ‘Tonight’ is a revved-up fuzzbox stomper with a choppy, somewhat Kinks-y riff, proving Kane is not content to deliver just one style and hope for the best.
‘What Condition Am I In?’ is another Partridge/Kane pairing that, again, uses a soul-based feel to fine effect. The one and only Paul Weller stops by to throw his two cents in, co-writing ‘Fire In My Heart’ and ‘You’re Gonna Get It.’ The former is a wistful ballad, while the latter is a full-on rocker stocked with pounding drums and blistering guitars.
The album’s first single,’Give Up,’ is a heavy riff rocker, not unlike the Arctic Monkeys work with Queens Of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme. It’s also got some vintage T. Rex moves mixed in as Kane dishes out a suitably aggressive vocal. ‘Darkness In Our Hearts’ ends things in almost anthemic fashion. The bouncing rhythm and angular guitars push this steamroller along, complete with manic guitar breaks.
Exquisitely produced by Ian Broudie (who also co-wrote some of the songs), ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is classic British pop/rock that manages to sound fresh and avoids tumbling out like a tired, worn-out cliche. Miles Kane has his eye on the prize, and he’s almost there. A rousing success all around!