Miles Kane has long been known in the indie rock community. Debuting as the frontman of The Rascals before joining Alex Turner to form The Last Shadow Puppets and appearing occasionally to perform with the Arctic Monkeys, his nearly twenty-year career has been extensive. The newest addition to his far-reaching repertoire – “One Man Band” – quickly followed up on 2022’s “Change the Show” – but, frankly, not much has changed.
In a recent conversation with NME, he explained that his new tracks, which feature Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden and The Coral’s James Skelly, were designed for festival scenes. Lead single “Troubled Son” and title track “One Man Band” succeeded somewhat in this pumping energy with their euphoric choruses and chugging, sing-along riffs, but beyond that initial energy, there’s not much to chew on.
But when Kane is good, he’s great. Listen to the rocking bass of “The Best Is Yet To Come” bouncing to its sultry, smug vocals and you’ll feel like a thug on the run. Infectiously wild, “Never Take Me Alive,” which nods to Hollywood heroes Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, has a similar effect: battered basslines and insistent lyrical delivery encourage you to adopt the same attitude as the rebellious movie stars he names. Then comes “Heal”, scruffy and shabby, creeping forward, subtly showing control over Kane’s vocals.
It’s not just his energetic indie rock that shines. Ransom is the highlight of the album, reminiscent of Alex Turner’s Submarine EP and Blur’s To The End. Sleek, addictive, and downright gorgeous, it’s filled with fiercely romantic aspiration. “The Wonder” is also a real rumor. With a rightfully cheeky psychological rock solo, this perhaps this is the kind of festival hits he should have focused on making.
And then there is everything else. ‘Scared of Love’ is a bit like you’re stuck on a train that stops and leaves – you’re desperately trying to get to your destination, but it never arrives despite false starts. Against the background of “Heal” the ending is not impressive. “Double” is a fun, ringing slice of indie pop that’s sweet but forgettable, and the chorus of “Heartbreaks (The New Sensation)” “Tonight we light up the city / ahhh / now tell the lies you like / ahhh‘ passes without notice.
“One Man Band” is a mixed bag. After almost two decades of making music, one would think that Kane now has a more defined and distinct personality. Where he is inventive and precise in managing his energy, he is able to create truly inspiring and creative indie bops. Too bad there aren’t many of them on this album. The potential is there, but he didn’t quite realize it.
- Date of issue: August 4, 2023
- Record label: modern sky