Updated: Jan 29
The Merseyside Last Shadow Puppet man's fourth solo album is a retro effort full of soul and fun.
Miles Kane and I have history. Years ago I went to see him. It was on a Friday night (big fan of weekend gigs...) in the Liquid Rooms (big fan of the Edinburgh venue...). Anyway, as my mate and I approached the entrance, we were met by a gathering of uniformed police officers. They wanted to warn us that Miles Kane was followed by a gang of professional pickpockets and we were to be mindful of our belongings.
That’s what I want with my rock 'n' roll. Excitement...and the fear of having to get in contact with Vodafone the following day to tell them my mobile has gone. It was all a bit of drama over nothing as no one stole my phone. Instead, Kane put on a masterful performance. This was when he was coming off the indie rock double punch of Colour of the Trap and Don’t Forget Who You Are. He covered every inch of the stage every four seconds while wearing a leopard skin three quarter length jacket.
Since then he’s reinvented himself at every opportunity. One minute he’s in Adidas, the next a turtle neck sweater before ditching it for a velour tracksuit. It’s as if he’s auditioning for the role of every background character in Grand Theft Auto.
But there’s more to Kane than meets the eye. Over the years he’s been in The Rascals, duetted with Lana Del Ray, been a member of The Jaded Hearts Club and teamed up with Alex Turner for The Last Shadow Puppets. It’s easy to forget he’s creative in his own right. And that’s why his latest album Change The Show serves as a perfect reminder of his skills.
It kicks off with ‘Tears are Falling’ which sets its stall out with the line “I’m an old school orchestrator.” He’s in a reflective mood. Looking back on himself while tweaking through his record collection in the process. While he high fives his musical influences, there’s a Northern Soul feel flowing through proceedings. He’s having fun and determined to invite the listener into the party.
Early album highlight ‘Nothings Ever Gonna Be Good Enough’ sums it up perfectly. He teams up with Corrine Bailey Rae, in one of those songs you’ll fall in love with somebody to. There’s a touch of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ by Elton John on ‘See Ya When I See Ya.’ Kane then stays in the seventies as he flicks his next record to ‘Brown Sugar’ era Rolling Stones for the stomp along ‘Never Get Tires Of Dancing.’ With ‘Tell Me What You’re Felling’ you hope and wonder he can keep up the mood and the quality.
There is a dip and it tends to happen when he turns things down a notch or two. ‘Coming Of Age’ and ‘Constantly’ both sound more akin to what he’s been getting up to with a certain Mr Turner. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a bit more subdued than the rest of the album.
Don’t worry, 'cause he’s got a couple of aces still up his sleeve. The albums title track owes a massive debut to ‘Young Americans’ with its sleazy intro and a saxophone chasing it but Kane’s vocals for it perfectly. And the whole thing plays out with ‘Adios ta-ra ta-ra’ which manages to mix the soul and rock elements of the whole proceedings in a mesmerising combination. Change The Show does just that. He flips between genres with ease and reminds you that he’s more than just someone who pops up on other peoples material. He’s clearly got enough of his own to entertain us.
So Miles Kane and I have history. And when he’s as full of soul and fun, as he is on Change The Show, then we’ve got a future too.
Rating - 8/10