The Sound of Saturday Night

Miles Kane Live WPMiles Kane likes to talk. He also likes to dress well. He likes to talk about dressing well. But he knows music is his bread and butter. Kane, after three different debut albums, and one in the vaults, finally creates a follow up in his own smartly dressed guise.

Don’t Forget Who You Are is a move away from the previous Link Wray inspired, 60’s thriller soundtracks by John Barry and more towards young-scally-heading-out-for-a-few-pints-sing-a-long. Yet, despite his Liverpudlian roots, Kane has never smelt much of Beatlemania, but the potent whiff here is further strengthened by a Gallagher influence. There is also a distinct switch up to a more muscular, noisy set of songs from Colour of the Trap. Live, this energy will create more power within Kane’s already blistering live shows.

Taking Over opens with a swaggering glam riff and a steady beat marching towards a chorus of 60’s girl band harmonies and zips to and thro as Kane sings about a girl getting a hold on him, until it plays out to a squally guitar.  It’s quickly followed by a skiffle-like title track, where Kane’s clothes get a mention as they make him feel good, and an echo of Hey Jude’s la la la refrain inviting listeners to sing-a-long. Kane’s musical starting gun probably went off about here, Lonnie Donegan was a great influence on the Quarrymen, and they ran with it.

The Scouse thread continues with the Merseybeat sounding Better Than That sailing straight from America into the King’s Dock. The frenzied handclaps came in on the same tide, no doubt provided by girls in mini skirts and heavy eyeliner, and blazes out in a Bowiesque instant. He namechecks Bardot and Brando to get the message across as to how good he’s feeling tonight.

With the Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie overseeing production, the message is clear; timeless pop is the sound I’m looking for. There is, however, influence from later generations British pop. Out of Control sounds like a combination of The Verve and Oasis pieced together by Kane, which underlines the noticeable increase in size of songs, resonating with a similar progression as his generational forbears.

A different angle eventually hoves into view as bubbles of electronica fizz like a nagging echo of Pinball Wizard through Bombshells, and continues with the heavier, White Stripes inflected, Tonight. Both travel at full tilt giving the album an energetic centrepiece, and adrenaline to continue on this night out.

The pace eases with the piano led, acoustic strum of Fire In My Heart, similar in template to the earlier Out Of Control, unfortunately only the tinkling ivories keep it alight. Then the handclaps return with You’re Gonna Get It, which, given Kane’s sartorial leanings, is it perhaps too cute to suggest it sounds like ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man?

Miles Kane Louche WP

The tough and heavy Give Up brings back the shouty choruses with the “You’re pretty good lookin’/but I’m looking for a way out” festival participation line. Maybe a nod to former girlfriend, model Suki Waterhouse.

Kane shouldn’t be held responsible for being influenced by acts such as Bowie, Weller, Gallagher or the Beatles, who have, incidentally, been influencing musicians for over 40 years. He isn’t claiming to be offering anything new. Don’t Forget Who You Are is not cerebral; the songs aren’t deep. Kane’s lyrics are as straightforward as his clothes are sharp and these pop darts hit their Mod target. But any quirkiness that made Colour of the Trap and The Age of the Understatement so appealing is abstracted via the new collaborators, who do what they do best, and, in Weller’s case, very little of anything else – Weller’s Sonic Kicks is weighty evidence of this – and his offerings are the most pedestrian here.

The lack of real commercial success from this earlier pair of recordings may have ushered him into seeking the mainstream. Inviting Broudie, and his pure pop nous, to produce and co-write suggests it is what Kane wanted, and often serves him very well.

Don’t Forget Who You Are is an exuberant romp of a Saturday night out, full of cheeky charm where Kane sings with an infectious wide mouthed joy encouraging you to join him and his mates in having a pint and pulling the birds. This is a rollicking little album packed with short smacks of 60’s and 70’s rock ‘n’ roll highlights shot through with more modern good time elements which should keep Kane on the airwaves, on festival line ups and in the beer gardens of Britain this summer.


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