Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Miles Kane: Colour of the Trap

     This is rock and roll from an artist after the retro crown. Said crown is currently held by Beady Eye's 'Different Gear, Still Speeding', but Miles Kane is on the mission of the sixties revivalist. It's an unashamed effort from former frontman of The Last Shadow Puppets, who said about 'Colour of the Trap'; “it makes you feel like a real man”. You get the sense that this guys lives in times past. He's a rocker who likes a good suit, a good-looking girl and insists on the best wine from a restaurant. Why does he have to appear on the album cover, I hear you ask? "Because I just had to" comes the reply. Despite this confidence, some things stop this album soaring to the heights it was obviously meant to fly at. For starters, it seems Kane can't quite appear from former band-mate Alex Turner's shadow. It's true that he has crafted somewhat of an individual sound and style, but Turner's song-writing influence is blatantly apparent to those familiar with his work. Secondly, while there is a pleasant retro pop feel surrounding a handful of tracks, the record overall lacks the raucousness fans of The Last Shadow Puppets might have been expecting. Asking myself, 'when's it going to kick off?' throughout took away from the album on first listen, but there are still a few stand-out songs here that I enjoyed.
      One of my favourite tracks here is actually the opener, 'Come Closer', with it's foot-tapping drum beat and personality laden 'whoa's and 'ahh's. The tune is catchy enough to grab the listeners attention straight of the bat, which I liked. The next song, 'Rearrange' works well as the summer single it's supposed to be, but is immediately overshadowed by the pop ballad 'My Fantasy'. Soppy lyrics could do with some work, and personally, it does require something a tad more distinctive than it did, but in the end it adds a nice variety to the album as a whole. 'Counting Down The Days' is the track most lathered in nostalgia, but hardly anything, bar the melody, really works. Lyricism filled with clichés is loaded onto the back of a hippy van and by the end, you just want them to stop prancing about and get on with something else. Kane duets with Harry Potter star Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour) on the psychedelic 'Happenstance'. There is a build up later on in the track which doesn't really deliver. There was, like I mentioned before, the sudden anticipation for a great climax that well, didn't. 'Quicksand' is another upbeat effort that contrasts nicely with the sixties-esque duet, and it's catchy hook is noteworthy.
     'Inhaler' is one of the better tracks, simply because it makes me imagine how good the others could have been. Reverb on the vocals adds a sense of age to the song, and the vocals themselves are gruff and feel a lot more passionate than others, even with it's asthma-related title that immediately dismisses any sensual thoughts. Another psychedelic effort, 'Kingcrawler' doesn't work half as well as it should have. The power is there, but it's broken up with 'ay ay ay's that sound gimmicky and annoying. There's a pretty cutesy melody on 'Take The Night From Me' that's pleasant while it lasts but ultimately unoriginal to it's core. The long-awaited Puppets reunion on 'Telepathy' is only very nearly one of the better tracks here. It's one for the long-time fans, who are pretty much happy with anything. 'Better Left Invisible' is another favourite of mine, pretty much because of the unique beginning. From then on, it dissolves into lyrical rubbish, yet again. Closing on title track 'Colour of the Trap', it's another ballad. It finishes the album well enough, with it's subtle rock and roll softness backing the summery verses of a sixties ball. Before I get to the conclusion of the review, then, shout-out to Anton for requesting it.
     There is nothing revolutionary about this record. It's a simple twelve-track collection that harks back to the 'good ol' days' of rock and roll. The production here is excellent, and in that sense, considering the revivalist element to the music, I reckon a little grime and microphone reverb would have gone a long way. A little more well, 'oof', in terms of vocals and rhythm wouldn't have gone amiss either. As it is though, 'Colour of the Trap' is a solid solo debut from one ambitious fellow. Perfect? Not at all. Great? Undeniably so.

'Come Closer'