Miles Kane’s fourth solo outing, Change The Show, sees The Last Shadow Puppet unapologetically express the retro-pop side to his artistry, an element that has always sat bubbling away in the depths of his creativity. Now though, Kane is defiantly leaning into it, wearing his influences as a badge of pride.
Change The Show is a throwback to the halcyon days of the 1960s, and Kane isn’t attempting to reinvent the wheel by experimenting in uncharted avant-garde territories, nor is he following modern-day algorithm-chasing trends. Instead, Kane has decided to refer back to a vintage blueprint that we’ve heard glimpses of from the 35-year-old before, and it’s hard to not fall for Change The Show’s sugarcoated charm.
A lot has changed for Kane since the glam-rock tinged Coup De Grace, and he has since swapped the streets of Los Angeles for the more humble surroundings of Bethnal Green, London. That move has not consciously influenced the album, although he now sounds more assured in who he is as a person and an artist. The Lily Savage sample from fellow Birkenhead boy Paul O’Grady on ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ is an amusing nod to Kane’s roots, and adds another spoonful of sweet nostalgia to the mix.
Meanwhile, if you close your eyes while listening to ‘Tell Me What You’re Feeling’, you could be forgiven for feeling that you’ve been transported to Ronnie Scott’s in the heart of Soho. This brand of music has always influenced Kane’s work, and it is somewhat proudly ramped up to a whole new degree on Change The Show.
The album is at its best when the pace is picked up, and the watertight big band help push Kane through the gears, most noticeable on tracks like on the electrifying ‘Caroline’ and the pulsating title number. On the titular ‘Change The Show’, the Wirral native offers a persuasive missile of hope, and he unleashes a fire in his voice as he sings, “It just don’t matter, it just don’t matter at all, let’s change the show”.
Kane’s Motown-esque collaboration with Corrine Bailey-Rae is another highlight. The natural chemistry on display is spellbinding as they tussle back and forth throughout ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough’. It adds another dimension to Kane’s sound by having someone to spar with, and throughout Change The Show, female backing vocals are used profitably.
The one track that embodies the record’s spirit, however, is ‘Coming Of Age’, as Kane reflects on finally growing up and leaving the nonsense of youth behind over a dim-lit backdrop that he uses as a canvas for his contemplative thoughts.
Album closer, ‘Adios Ta-Ra Ta-Ra’, meanwhile, brings Change The Show to a heartfelt end and sees Kane slow down the tempo as the curtain comes to a close on the album.
Although the project isn’t going to define 2022, and the chances of him receiving an Ivor Novello for its lyrical output are slim, Change The Show is a buoyant record that makes for a pleasing listen. Meanwhile, the live element also cons you into thinking you’re in the room with the band. While it’s not going to change your outlook on the world, Miles Kane will make you tap your feet. Most notably, it has to be said, is that Kane has matured sonically on Change The Show as he upliftingly harks back to the golden age of pop and unlocks a sound that allows his talents to flourish to the best of his ability.