Miles Kane - Colour of the Trap Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 05.17.2011
Alex Turner's right-hand man steps out on his own and delivers.
Miles Kane - Colour of the Trap
Released: May 10th 2011 [UK]
Review by Daniel Wilcox
1. Come Closer
3. My Fantasy [feat. Noel Gallagher]
4. Counting Down the Days
5. Better Left Invisible
9. Take the Night from Me
11. Happenstance [feat. Clemence Poesy]
12. Colour of the Trap
Even prior to the release of his debut, Miles Kane has a large core group of fans that followed him from his days as a founding member of the short-lived group The Rascals, and Alex Turner's partner-in-crime as part of the side project The Last Shadow Puppets. The critical success of Kane's aforementioned ventures have contributed to the anticipation for Colour of the Trap, Kane's first solo album. In addition, Kane has spent the last year working with producers Dan Carey (Franz Ferdinand, Tame Impala, Hot Chip) and Dan the Automator (Kasabian, Gorillaz) tightening up the album's tracks, including its collaborations with Alex Turner and Noel Gallagher. Inevitably any review of this album you'll read will make some reference to Kane being in the protege of the more successful and more well-known Turner, but in twelve simple steps the Wirral-born crooner takes an unfathomable leap out of that particular shadow and manages to establish himself as one of the coolest up-and-coming songwriters in the United Kingdom right now.
It's easy to see why reports of his live shows make many a mention of riotous decadence and tomfoolery when album-opener “Come Closer” provides just a sampler of the alluring retro rock on offer with Colour of the Trap. Debonair is Kane as he ponders what he “has to do to get you where [I] want you,” and from there on the lyrics only get more suave. With one foot firmly rooted in the 60s rock 'n' roll and the other toeing the line of every modern indie-rock cliché, this is an album that is going to have a wide-ranging appeal. It's this balance that shows how Kane has paid is dues, taking notes of how great British indie music was born and perhaps more importantly, figuring out in his mind exactly where it is heading. Perhaps spending only a short period of time with previous projects The Little Flames and The Rascals should have warned us that Kane knew something we, with the exception of Alex Turner, didn't and Colour of the Trap is that something.
In the first three tracks Kane demonstrates his ability to write hugely varying songs within the same genre; “Come Closer” a brooding foot-stomper, “Rearrange” providing a hook and chorus so catchy it single-handedly justifies any “pop” label that critics may attach attach to this record, and then “My Fantasy,” a laid-back single along achieving perhaps the best vocal on the album. The latter is where Noel Gallagher makes his cameo, providing back vocals. Such a star-studded coll
is rarely found on a debut, but if any is worthy it's Colour of the Trap.
However, an even better guest appearance is provided by Clemence Poesy, a little-known French actress. Her breathy vocals in the penultimate track “Happenstance” take the album way past steamy territory and into unadulterated raunchiness. Throughout the album Kane relies on lyrics describing the pursuit and capture of various sexual encounters, and while seeded wordplay gets Kane so far, it's the more straightforward cries of “You've got me hoping for some happenstance / You've got me uptight,” that are the most effective.
And even when the pandering lyrical themes seem to have run their course the songwriting itself manages to move the record up through the gears. “Quicksand” is Britpop perfection that Noel himself would be proud of, and it leads into the confrontational lead single “Inhaler,” a fantastic throwback to 60s psychedelica and Kane's own personal nod to major influence and icon John Lennon. The riff here is fantastic, as is case in many of the album's harder tracks. The grooves throughout are sublime and no doubt his guitar-playing ability is one of Kane's greatest attributes. You'd be hard pressed to argue however, that his greatest isn't his ability to take the simplest elements of rock 'n' roll, Britpop and modern indie music and mix them together smoothly and seamlessly to create a cauldron of piping hot indie pop perfection. Despite their adoring public clamouring for a new Last Shadow Puppets album, if it comes at the expense of more Miles Kane solo goodness, as far as I'm concerned that side project can remain on the shelf for the time being.
“Inhaler” - Miles Kane
The 411: Colour of the Trap does not necessarily reinvent the wheel, but it by making it smoother, sleeker and shinier it makes it go a whole hell of a lot faster. From the toe-tapping, fist-pumping goodness of the album's opener to the laid-back psychedelic vibe of the closing title track, Miles Kane has provided a record few realized he was capable of, and perhaps even fewer ever realized he would ever achieve. Lyrically it may need some work, but the music is fantastic and brings back memories of some of our favourite bands from as many as fifty and as few as five years ago. Colour of the Trap should be your soundtrack to this and many other summers to come.