Miles Kane’s sophomore album, “Don’t Forget Who You Are,” is a mixed bag. On one hand, the CD sounds quite good. The songs are catchy, Kane’s vocals are exceptional, and the production is a step up from his debut album. The nostalgic ’60s sound that he constructed his career upon is still present, especially in the hit single “Don’t Forget Who You Are.” “Bombshells,” while short, is also a track worth singling out as impressive.
However, instrumentals seem to be a huge problem for the Liverpool star. More often than not, he becomes entangled in the styles of other bands. “Give Up,” for example, sounds far too much like a dark, guitar-bursting tune that is the signature of Kasabian. “Darkness in Our Hearts” copies the sizzling guitars of the Strokes, and “Out of Control” sounds as if it were swiped from a long-lost Oasis album. While it is often beneficial to look to other bands for inspiration, there’s a fine line between what is and isn’t acceptable. I feel Kane has crossed it.
Kane also struggles with his lyrics at times. In this category, “Better Than That” is especially cringe-worthy. The lyrics, laced with ’60s references decipherable only through a Google search, are out of touch with Kane’s audience. The inclusion of the lyric “maybe it’s your stupid face that’s turning me on” is questionable and degrades the song. Even more painful is the song’s ending, during which Kane feels a need to slowly spell out L-O-V-E.
It’s no secret that Miles Kane prefers to focus his career on his live performances, and for that purpose this album fits the bill. For those partying at gigs, the loud, chant-worthy tunes Kane has provided are considered hits. The fans at home, however, are left scratching their heads. For them, it’s clear that this album is a step back from its predecessor in nearly all areas.
Make no mistake: Miles Kane certainly has talent, and this album has its strong points. However, it’s obvious that more thought needs to go into Kane’s work if he expects to move his career in the right direction.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.