On the follow up to ‘Colour of the Trap’ Miles Kanes’ second solo album is not a hodgepodge of sounds kicked up by the embers of the tracks blazed by 60’s and 70’s artists rather instead ‘Dont Forget Who You Are’ is a collection of brilliantly crafted songs of today. The album is a gigantic and far more cohesive step forward by Miles that ends far sooner than you like with the longest song on the album comes in at a breezy 3 minutes and 42 seconds, Be Here Now this album is not.
Starting off almost sounding like a Death From Above 1979 song when ‘Taking Over’ kicks in you are smacked across the face with a nasty hook that is instantly memorable and infectious. In a similar vein ‘Tonight’ contains huge guitars and a beefy bass forming a solid backdrop. ‘Better Than That’ with it’s silky guitar and cheery sing along chorus is a single in the making along with the track ‘Bombshell’. Another track ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ is total foot stomper and sure to be live favorite. Additionally the recording and mixing of the guitar on ‘What Condition Am I In’ is a standout standout moment on the album in this writers book. Add in a melody and lyrics I can’t stop humming and that spells a win-win.
This wouldn’t be a review by me without going over some kind of negative – and there is geniune ones to be had here. For me Miles’ always seems to miss the mark on one or two spots that tend to make songs or albums out of place. Thankfully the mis-steps are not too bad and number only two for me. ‘Out of Control’ falls into the usual, and I’m stealing from a literary meaning here: Trope, that i’ve noticed with certain acts. And that trope is to re-write ‘Hey Jude’. Lets stop doing that, ok? 2013 here people. However the boring trek through the song is not what is really at fault. It’s that lyrically it’s super weak with one glaring example: “rock as we roll, rev the engines as we go, lets go out of control”. Surely it means something to someone down the line and that’s fine, but knowing Miles other work you can’t help but think if he had a bit more quality control in there a line like that wouldn’t have escaped the demos. The other moment is the woefully out of place track ‘Fire In My Heart’. While not particularly a bad song it can only be summed up by knowing that it’s one of those songs that leaves 1/4 of the crowd running to the restroom, or the bar for another pint. On a time-trial of an album brief re-fillings can be good, but this one sticks out a bit too much.
Despite a few moments on ‘Dont Forget Who You Are’ Miles Kane yet again asserts his strength in writing write hook driven songs that translates extremely well into his live show. For this writer this album is our brilliantly burning flashlight through these dark times where British guitar pop bands are afraid to turn the amps up to 11 on a recording. Long live rock n’ roll.