Review Summary: "We won't let our worries dictate who we are"
Miles Kane has spent a lot of time in the shadows, in particular, that of fellow Last of the Shadow Puppets member (and Arctic Monkeys frontman) Alex Turner. The Liverpudlian mod had to fight hard to shake of the unfair tag of being just a mate of Turner, and his 2011 debut showed he had a spark for anthemic modern day rock n roll. Still, the album was a little uneven and on several tracks he collaborated with others which didn’t help him become a true solo star in some people’s eyes. But on Don’t Forget Who You Are, despite a few collaborations once again, Miles Kane’s confidence and identity truly comes into its own.
His approach to this sophomore record shows not only his desire for what he wants the music to be, but also what he wants to be. Kane strived to trim the album’s 11 tracks of any fat or clutter, and the satisfyingly skimpy track lengths demonstrate this (Only 1 track goes over three and a half minutes). This suits his style well – it’s all about bombastic, hooky, streamlined rock n roll, and the fact that Kane has realised that and stripped the album down to its raw rock essentialities establishes himself in a confident and knowing position as purveyor of the soundtrack to the weekend nights out of his listeners.
Right from the grinding riff of opener “Taking Over”, which like many numbers on the record gets bigger and brasher as it ticks on; the vibe of DFWYA is shot into the ears of those listening with a comfortable clarity and sense of direction. It’s catchy, full of hooks, short, punchy, memorable, and most importantly, fun. The title track is even more exciting, packed with reverberated, echo laden vocals booming self-assured, life affirming lines over a shaky little riff. The “la la la’s” on the chorus serve as the cherry on top and once again prove that this music wishes to be nothing more than extremely infectious rock n roll. And it wholly is, with track after track offering easily digestible, hook-driven pop-rock, that would fail to crack a smile or a tap of the foot for only the most morbid and stolid listeners.
It’s telling that numbers like “Fire in my Heart”, in which Kane collaborates with the Modfather himself, Paul Weller, come off as the weakest numbers. Miles Kane doesn’t live in anybody’s shadow anymore, how could he with a set of tracks as confident, fiery and as fun as hell as the glam stomp of “What Condition Am I In?”, the compressed punk crunch of “Tonight”, and numerous others on this brilliant little album. Goodbye ‘that mod mate of Alex Turner’, hello ‘The Modson’.