It’s been two years since Miles Kane released his solo debut album, Colour of the Trap. Monday will see the release of it’s follow up, Don’t Forget Who You Are. Does it hold up? Has Miles still got it? After just finishing my first listen, I can thankfully report that it’s a big yes! It definitely holds up (if not surpasses its predecessor) and Miles definitely still has it. By “it”, I mean an excellent talent which makes you hold on to every word he sings and listen to every perfect guitar strum he plays. Oh. He’s also insanely cool still. Well, you would be too if you hung around with Paul Weller on a social basis wouldn’t you!
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that to many critics, Miles seems to be the Mod version of Marmite. (Modmite? MARRmite? Make your own mod-marmite joke up!) Many love him but there’s those that dislike everything about him. If you haven’t yet realised, I’m personally in the camp who loves everything this talented 27-year-old Liverpudlian produces and this is a terrific album. Opening with a track entitled ‘Taking Over’, it lives up to its name. I was sorting through some washing (living on your own sucks!) when I started to listen to this, before I knew it, I was stood still, looking out the window, engrossed in the track. With a brilliant guitar riff, a foot-tap inducing drum beat and strong, confident vocals, this proves to be a very promising start to “the difficult second album”.
Second track on the album comes in the form of second single to be released off the album so far and also the title track, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’. The song is almost anthemic from the very beginning and it’s obvious that the track’s building up to something. I’m not usually a fan of things such as “la la la, la la la, la la” in songs because they remind me too much of the Kaiser Chiefs and their incredibly annoying “na na na na’s” they seem obliged to have in every song but in Don’t Forget Who You Are, the “la la la’s” work and I can imagine people singing along during an indie night in the not so distant future when everybody’s heard the song enough times to remember when to jump in. Mention no names but I hear ‘Transmission’ is an excellent indie night!
Showing no sign of slowing the pace down, the album launches in to ‘Better Than That’. Funky guitar riff’s move the track along nicely. Just like the previous two tracks and to be fair, the previous album, we’re welcomed with catchy verses and even catchier choruses many of us have become accustomed to when listening to Miles Kane. I know it’s a really overused phrase within album reviews but there’s a sense of a real maturity shining through both in terms of Miles musical capabilities and personal maturity, whether this is a part of Paul Weller rubbing off on him or not, we’ll probably never know but it’s a welcome progression none the less. Miles has stated in many interviews who his influences are. Track 4 is a really clear influence from The Beatles, sounding like something they would’ve made if they were around nowadays. Although this influence is clearly worn on his sleeve, ‘Out of Control’ doesn’t shine away from Miles as an individual and this fast becomes one of my favourite tracks on the album despite the slightly slower pace. This slowed down pace isn’t a change in direction of the whole album however as track 5, ‘Bombshells’ soon thunders through. If you play any track off the album loud, ensure its this one; the drums are played to perfection with Miles’ iconic voice echoing over them and the obligatory guitar riff. Saying that, the whole album should be played loud. Not too loud though, you don’t want to damage your ears and I don’t want to be hold responsible for potential casualties!
‘What Condition Am I In’ is the unashamed power ballad of the album. An obvious love song about a lost love from potentially one of Miles’ own personal experiences or perhaps just an imaginative narrative. Either way, it’s one of the most catchy song’s on the album and will no doubt sound delightful when played live. ‘Fire in my Heart’ is up next and ironically, the pace is taken down a considerable amount which gives the sense of a lack of passion. This isn’t the case when Miles actually starts singing though, he has the ability to show passion through voice alone and doesn’t need his usual loud riffs and drums. Acoustically, lyrically and melody wise, this is a brilliant track and shows a different style for the modern Mod. Next up is ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ which is co-wrote by one of the most iconic mod’s around, the aforementioned, Paul Weller. With Kane and Weller both providing lyrics to a song, there really isn’t much that can go wrong and it doesn’t at any point throughout. Building up to something big, it soon becomes clear what this something is; it’s the first single which was taken from the album, ‘Give Up’. This was a first glimpse in to what we could expect from the second album and from the moment I heard it, I knew the album wouldn’t disappoint me. During this penultimate track, I’m right in my assumption, this album does nothing but satisfy and will be a firm hit with the fans whilst also no doubt gaining Miles a whole new army of fans.
So, now comes the ever important final track. It’s what’s on your mind most when the album comes to the end. Twenty seconds in and my foots already tapping (usually a good sign). Titled ‘Darkness In Our Hearts’, we’re treated to a proper “Miles Kane riff and classic drum beat” which builds in to a further anthemic chorus. You can envisage every song off this album working exceedingly well in a live environment. I really hope I manage to see this very talented musician at some point this year. Until then, I’m going to make do with this album!
Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is released on 3rd June on Columbia Records.
Until then, the album is streaming in its entirety over on the NME site. Click here to listen.
Words by Robert Smith (@robertmsmith)