Miles Kane – Change The Show review: A snapshot of a songwriter coming of age | Guitare.com
“The album is me, as I am now. Old, apparently,” admits former Last Shadow Puppet and Rascal Miles Kane of Change the show, a little prematurely at only 35 years old. This is surprisingly only Kane’s fourth solo album, and it’s truly a reflection on growing up and the pitfalls of living in the relentless splinter of the music industry.
Return to London from Los Angeles before the release of the third album coup de grace in 2018 seems to have been pivotal for Kane. He describes himself as more grounded and confident in his writing at home, away from the superficial whirlwind of the City of Angels. He also looks like he’s having the most fun he’s ever had Change the show.
A record inherently concerned with reflection and redemption, much of the material had already gone out of fashion with producer James Biles when the psych-rock duo stepped in Sunglasses for the jaws culminated in a full re-recording, with Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Joao Mello joining the party on sax and piano.
Kane found new energy in the sessions, drawing on the Motown and Northern Soul influences that inspired his work with The Jaded Hearts Club, a supergroup that also included Matt Bellamy and Graham Coxon. Change the show blends the booming melody of 1960s Detroit with Kane’s knack for writing indie rock tinged with simple glam. The full arrangements are lavished with surfy vibrato, a truckload of saxophones and huge pop choruses.
Kane looks suspiciously like Marc Bolan on The tears are falling, singing “I can be a cold heartbreaker, a professional terminator”. Elsewhere on the opener, he’s “An old-school orchestrator, a forgotten shaker” before a luscious chorus unfolds, awash in dreamy harmonies from Holly Quin-Ankrah’s Beach Boys and shimmering harpsichord notes.
First single Don’t let yourself down explodes from a spoken intro delivered with consummate spiciness by Lily Savage in scratchy rhythm guitar flourishes, a searing bass line, cavorting Latin percussion and a fleeting, wobbly mid-’60s solo. Despite the contagious groove and the backdrop of the screams and screams is Kane declaiming the zeitgeist and catching a startling, unflattering glimpse of his own reflection “in the backseat of a Hollywood Chevrolet east of Los Angeles”.
Kane was shooting for an Ike and Tina Turner vibe on Nothing will ever be good enough and it’s a catchy winning attempt, a moving duet with the perfect note Corinne Bailey Rae. see you when i see you, meanwhile, is a farewell to the Wirral songwriter’s wandering past that lands somewhere between John Lennon and the Bee Gees, a slide riff adjacent to Harrison dancing with decadent horns as Kane helps himself (” Mr Johnny Know it All”) some home truths.
The rhythmic backbone of tell me how you feel is strongly suggestive of keep on running by The Spencer Davis Group, a stabbing one-string guitar break momentarily rising from the lush arrangement before being eclipsed by a coasting organ solo. Constantly opens with echo be my baby drums and dreamy chords that float in the air before evaporating. Kane adopts a hushed tone to confess “I was looking for something, I was looking for harmless pleasure, with just about anyone”.
What these 11 songs remind us of is that Miles Kane – a gold record and two Top 10 albums to his name – undeniably knows how to hold his own around a tune. Come of age, imbued with a bit of the spirit of Roy Orbison, is a wonderfully bittersweet example of this, with the singer revisiting some narcotic depths of the past for inspiration. “Maybe I’m just coming of age and running out of medicine to feel good,” he muses, a rusty guitar solo overwhelmed by a chorus held at 10 bars.
While the tones Change the show are vintage, lyrically this is not always the case. Kane says he pushed himself harder than ever in writing this record, and there are some moments of deep introspection, but it’s not all timeless stuff. The Bowie-influenced title track contains tenuous rhymes that even Liam Gallagher might frown upon, such as “Psychedelic times, it’s a shit-show horror, come and knock me out with a stone-cold stunner”. The song is, however, redeemed by another imposing choir.
People don’t make records like this often anymore, and that’s a bit of a shame.
Change the show is a sympathetic and heartfelt album that documents a period of personal growth for Miles Kane. It’s not one of the most inventive or thought-provoking records you’ll hear in 2022, but it doesn’t try to be, and perhaps the journey was more important than the destination for its author. . Whether you think it’s all a bit derivative of another era, or just like to immerse yourself in a restorative bath of rich melodies and expertly crafted choruses will be a matter of personal taste.
At Miles Kane’s Change the show is out now.