Album Review: Miles Kane – Coup De Grace

Coup De Grace

It’s by now a well-worn cliché, but like all clichés it’s based on an unempirical truth: Miles Kane is the most well-connected man in music.

However he may also be one of the hardest working, and certainly the most tenacious. For the uninitiated, a quick recap.

After starting out and finding limited success with The Little Flames and then The Rascals, our hero struck up a bromance with Alex Turner, the pair quickly releasing an album under the guise of The Last Shadow Puppets which was drenched in Scott Walker-esque strings and melodies. A great success, the album brought more collaborative opportunities for young Miles while an association with Arctic Monkeys began on live favourite 505.

So Kane was in an unusual position; a successful and recognised musician without an outlet to call his own. After two ‘failed’ bands, he chose to go solo. Coup De Grace is his third album since, the first two featuring contributions from Clemence Poesy, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Gruff Rhys, Ian Broudie, Andy Partridge, Guy Chambers and his compadre Turner. Quite an impressive roll call.

Now, after another dip into the Shadow Puppets, more names join the list; indie hero Jamie T – who co-wrote seven songs on the new album – illustrious popster Lana Del Ray and American act Mini Mansions. He gets by with a little help from his friends alright.

Enough of the pedigree, what of the actual music? Well, it’s another strong indie-rock album. Kane has a formula that works for his solo albums and happily experiments with his band – the formula is frantic guitar-driven anthems, interspersed with more heart-wrenching muses. However, rather than recalling 60s garage rock, the 1970s runs through this album like a stick of rock.

Marc Bolan is the main touch-point, specifically on Cry On My Guitar. It’s a cracking single, bringing the sexiness of the guitar that made T-Rex such a phenomenon. The disco-inflected title-track, however, has a guitar riff that could make Nile Rodgers ask for a birth certificate.

First single Loaded has a US west coast strut, while Jamie T’s influence is most keenly felt on Too Little Too Late, it being a frantic opener that bursts proceedings into life and which would have sat well on either of the Londoner’s own first two albums. Kane has got a strong set of lungs too; on Wrong Side Of Life he begins as Thom Yorke but ends as Richard Ashcroft.

By sheer force of will, Miles Kane has made himself a heavyweight on the indie scene. There is a lot to be said for that, and he does his best to expand his sound at every juncture.

Coup De Grace is unlikely to win him many new fans, but is a worthy addition to a now impressive body of work.

(Richard Bowes)

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