Thursday, 6 June 2013

Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are

You've only got to listen to the opening minute of the title track to Miles Kane's second solo album to discover a new found sense of confidence and swagger for the former Rascal/Last Shadow Puppet. 

After releasing The Colour of the Trap in 2011, Kane has developed and honed his sound to something a lot more defined and striking on this second record.

Remember 'Rearrange' and 'Come Closer'? Well, meet 'Taking Over', their dirtier, grungier and fuzzier cousin. The clackity-clack of drum sticks, the gentle stroking of Kane's vocals and then, wham, in kicks the drums. "I think I'm brewing up a storm" croons Kane; why yes, yes you are. It might not be the best track on the record, but it does set the scene well.

The first thing you notice is that Kane has kept what made his first record so good; the loud, stomping guitar riffs that grab the listener and keeps them hooked. The opening bass on the title track and the hip-shaking guitars on 'Give Up' prove that Kane isn't messing around; they get to the point, racing into the chorus as quick as a flash.

Whilst some of the tracks on Don't Forget Who You Are aren't anything revolutionary (the opening riff to 'Darkness in our Hearts' sounds awfully like 'Last Nite' by the Strokes), it can be hard to care too much when he's having this much fun with it. It's bold, brash and lyrically-clever music that one could expect from Miles' best buds, the Arctic Monkeys.

The energy on Kane's second record is infectious and barely lets up for the entire run-time. Every song is under the four minutes mark and keeps the heart rate pumping; whilst I found his first record started to sag in the middle (what was with that Venetian sounding mandolin in 'Take the Night from Me"?), this second album has played to Miles' strength's and kept the tempo in top gear.

One after another, the tunes just keep on coming. 'Better Than That', 'Bombshells' and 'Tonight' are all brilliant tracks that recall 'Inhaler' from Colour of the Trap.

Saying that, a stand-out track for me was without a doubt 'Fire In My Heart', which is a brief acoustic respite amongst the waves of fuzziness. The gentle piano and the softer vocals offer a nice comedown in pace and shows how much inspiration Miles has drawn from bands like Oasis and Beady Eye.

The deluxe edition of this record also includes last years' single 'First of My Kind' which is an absolute ripper of a track; add in two other bonus tracks ('Start of Something Big' and 'Caught in the Act') and it is well worth your while forking out. Also, check up the B-sides from Miles' most recent EP 'Give Up' for some more quality tunes.

Don't Forget Who You Are is a stronger and more comfortable album that improves upon Kane's often muddled first record; there's plenty more memorable riffs and guitar licks without the fluff and odd changes in tone. Drawing on British rock icons from Lennon, Daltrey, Gallagher and Turner, Kane has crafted a record that firmly establishes himself as one of the most talented and effervescent artists in British music. Please, don't forget who you are and keep it up.

Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are: 8/10

Download: Fire In My Heart, Better Than That, Bombshells

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