Album Review: Colour of the Trap by Miles Kane
They say that it helps to have friends in high places but it is not often that a debut solo project can boast contributions from Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys and…Harry Potter. Miles Kane has packed a lot into his 25 years. Already a veteran of Liverpool bands The Little Flames and The Rascals, he also managed to find time to top the album charts with collaborator in chief, Alex Turner.
Although The Rascals were tipped for big things, it is through the hook-up with the Arctic Monkeys frontman as The Last Shadow Puppets that Kane is best known. You get the sense that Kane is keen to prove his talent isn’t just a reflection of his more famous friend’s.
Colour of the Trap starts off confidently as opening track Come Closer is driven along by military bass and peppered with shocks of staccato guitar, while Kane laments a distant lover: ‘You’re a million miles away…so come closer.’
Next up, piercing psychedelic licks lash across recent single, Rearrange. Its verses are lifted straight from the sixties hit parade, with the chorus as big a slice of love-struck pop pie as you could wish for.
Kane has a touch of Paul McCartney about him physically, helped by the mop-top haircut and mod suit in the album’s monochrome cover shot. This Beatles connection is re-enforced by the contribution of another fab four fan – Noel Gallagher, who lends backing vocals to the almost country-style My Fantasy.
It seems Kane enjoys the rare patronage of both Gallagher brothers, with Liam inviting him to support his new band Beady Eye on tour recently. The Oasis influence extends to a couple of sound-alike tracks: debut single Inhaler crashes along impatiently to Kane’s rasping vocals, while title track Colour of the Trap has a touch of Don’t Look Back in Anger about it.
The mesmerising Happenstance delivers one of the album’s highlights, as Kane duets with French actress Clemence Poesy; better known for playing Fluer Delacour in the Harry Potter films.
The pair create a smoky, sophisticated number with their sizzling repartee; together purring ‘I don’t know who you are, all I know is that you fold me in half’ before Peosy adds a saucy ‘I want the keys to your chest.’
Elsewhere Counting Down the Days and the menacing Kingcrawler sound like outtakes from the Shadow Puppets’ Age of the Understatement sessions, while the cinematic Telepathy, co-written with Turner, and jaunty Quicksand confirm the album’s sixties-orientated eclectic feel.
Colour of the Trap is a loving homage to Sixties garage rock, floating its way back through the decades and picking out influences on the way.
Kane turns up the effects pedal to accompany his melodic scouse vocal, adding layers to the retro, poppy songs. The production is suitably stripped back, allowing the harmonies to shine through.
Critics may point to the album’s backward-looking influences and there is certainly nothing ground-breaking here.
Nevertheless, Kane just about manages to step out of the shadow of his illustrious friends by delivering a collection of songs that come across as familiar yet fresh.