In the 1960s, Miles Kane was buried in a time-capsule along with a guitar, a razor-sharp wardrobe and a heap load of attitude. Under strict instructions, the capsule was only to be dug up in the event of Rock‘n’roll’s potential demise. The call came some 40-odd years later and Miles Kane was released from his subterranean beat rock den. Rock needed reviving and here was the man to do it. With album number two, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, Kane has come to grab rock by it’s well-worn lapels and shock it out of the stale state it’s found itself in. Rock’n’roll has been cutting its coat according to its cloth for a good while and now modish Miles is here to make sure that that coat is stylish, tailor-made and categorically cool.
A new revolution in rock music is happening with Kane as it’s self-appointed leader. With his roots resolutely in the past but his eyes firmly on the future, Kane has produced a bravura turn that will kick start rock’s resuscitation. Kane has clearly been biding his time in his isolated pop pod, honing his craft and charting the path to becoming the saviour of rock’n’roll.
Album opener ‘Taking Over’ is a dizzying glam-rock stomp of a tune that’s as direct as a punch in the face and just as subtle. It sets the tone for a blistering opening ten minutes that doesn’t leave you time to draw breath. The title track follows in the same relentless vein with Kane keeping his foot on the gas as a skiffle infused snare heralds rock’s resurgence. It has the kind of effortlessly anthemic chorus you can imagine being chanted from the terraces. ‘Better Than That’ completes Kane’s opening salvo; the hand claps and Stax beat bound to get your fist pumping and your lips pouting as you channel your inner Bolan.
Lightning Seed’s Ian Broudie is on production duties and would make a good cornerman in boxing, knowing as he does how to get the best out of his charge. Like a fighter hungry for a shot at the world title, the songs are stripped of any fat, maintain an insistent tempo and capable of delivering a knock-out blow. ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ sees a fighting fit Kane in pulverising form, ready to take on all comers and eager to become the main event. This album captures Kane’s cocksure swagger and the incendiary intensity of one of his infamous live gigs.
Vocally, Kane is open to most scrutiny as the inevitable comparisons to Liam and Lennon are offered by those keen to pigeon hole the rock insurgent. He clearly still owes a huge debt to the more mouthy Gallagher brother- take the forthright, bumptious bawl of the title track and ‘Tonight’ for instance- and John Lennon. On ‘Out Of Control’ the affinity is apparent as the soaring strings carry you away and you wonder who it is you’re actually listening to. It’s a wonderful ballad that has the power to unite perfect strangers across a room, their eyes locking as they share a coy smile and something like love begins to pervade the atmosphere.
Elsewhere on the album, Kane is joined by his Mod sparring partner, the Modfather himself, Paul Weller. He plays piano on ‘Fire In My Heart’, a song the Jam legend also co-wrote. It’s the kind of marmite song that the faithful will claim to be a Mod marriage made in heaven whilst others will find it’s uninspired, dirge like drag a misguided and jarring step given the potent vigour of the rest of the album. Weller’s other appearance on ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ more than makes up for this jolt by bringing us a straightforward, good time anthem for the lads and lasses out on the lash on a Friday night.
Despite the almost inescapable comparisons to other rock legends and the nods to Glam and skiffle, the remarkable thing about ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is that it is Miles Kane, champion of the new beat generation, who alone shines through. An incredible achievement given the well-trod terrain Kane is traversing in his Cuban-heeled Beatle boots. He may have been released from his time-capsule during a state of emergency but this album is proof that Kane has kick started rock’s resurrection and that the future, with a gracious nod to the past, is in rude health. Viva la rock revolucion!
Don’t Forget Who You are is released 3rd June.