Miles Kane Colour of the Trap Review

Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Kane’s solo debut could have been unearthed from Joe Meek’s basement.

Mark Beaumont 2011

When Miles Kane absconded from his day band The Rascals to knock out the scintillating Bacharach update that was the Last Shadow Puppets album with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, he clearly found his niche. For this, his solo debut, Kane carves for himself a position as one of alternative pop’s prime retro-visionists as firmly as Brian Cox has cemented his role as the universe’s smiliest harbinger of doom. Not since The Bees’ A Minha Menina has 1960s psych-soul sounded so fresh; authentically swathed in Tornados twangs and spooky cellar-pop atmospheres, Colour of the Trap could have been unearthed from some hidden basement lair beneath Joe Meek’s old studio. You half expect to blow on the sleeve and dislodge a cloud of dust.

While so much Ronson-sealed retro is all about re-upholstering Motown for the nostalgia market – the equivalent of digitally colouring in old footage of Aretha Franklin – Kane knows that the true power is in the spirit of the time, and this he sets about capturing with a craftsman’s eye. So Inhaler makes a buzzy, rootsy, garage gospel-blues racket out of what might well be a song about asthma treatments, while Quicksand squishes all the miniskirt-flapping thrills of the entire 1963 run of Ready, Steady, Go! into three minutes of twinkling pop brilliance. There’s detail and reverence in the Stones riff stabs of Come Closer, the Bolan bounce of My Fantasy, the Spaghetti Western surf of Counting Down the Days and the Hammond helltones of Kingcrawler that make them feel like lovingly reassembled dinosaur skeletons given new flesh.

That all of the songs recount romantic misdeeds and obsessions only serves to conjure all the more a period when 99.99% of all pop songs were about girls and the remaining 0.01% were about surfing or satellites. But how long can Kane keep his time-travel pop sounding relevant? Colour of the Trap, impressive an achievement as it is, is begging for diminishing returns. First the Shadow Puppets, now this… let’s hope Miles shows us what he can do with the current decade next time, or he’ll date as ferociously as a pre-nuptial David Walliams.

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