Music review: Miles Kane, Dingwalls, London

Wiry Kane's got the hair, the looks, the champions...but he doesn’t really have the tunes

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The Independent Culture

"You're gonna get it/ You're gonna get it now," Miles Kane whines on the opener, a new track co-written with pal Paul Weller. They're selling "You're Gonna Get It" T-shirts at the merchandise stand. I, like Tom Hanks in the film Big, don't get it. The tops don't do a roaring trade.

Wiry Kane's got the hair, the looks, the champions – Alex Turner, Gruff Rhys, Noel Gallagher, Weller – but he doesn’t really have the tunes. His second, unremarkable solo album, Don’t Forget Who You Are, has a celebrated producer Ian Broudie (The Zutons, Echo and the Bunnymen) and includes a track, “Better Than That”, co-written by XTC’s venerable Andy Partridge. But most of his songs feel formulaic and flat, with clunky, uninspiring lyrics. Main preoccupations: animal instincts, intoxication and personal grooming.

“Hey I'm not like everybody else/ You're not like everybody else/ Face the facts,” Kane maintains on his melancholic “Darkness in Our Hearts”. Except the former Rascals frontman’s music is like quite a lot of people. “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal,” TS Eliot once maintained, so maybe the 27-year-old singer from the Wirral is frightfully mature when pilfering, magpie-like, from everyone.

He looks like Pete Townshend, circa “I Can See for Miles”, and sounds like a blend of Alex Turner (his Last Shadow Puppets collaborator, and still the finest thing Kane's been involved with) and Richard Ashcroft. In fact, this could be a Verve tribute night, only with weaker songs. One track blends into the next creating a mush of indie-rock clichés.

The audience – with their Quadrophenia hair, sideburns and their occasional roar of approval – appear to be having a reasonably beer-swillingly fine time, particularly the hardcore fans bouncing like Tigger at the front. Kane provides precious little in-between banter and we could have done with some chat, just to break up the monotony. "Say something, anything," James's Tim Booth once sang. Indeed.

The only thing that rescues this derivative, repetitive experience is a certain degree of vigour and the competence of the band, particularly drummer Jay Sharrock, son of Chris of Icicle Works fame, and Ben Parsons on keyboards.

“An uneasy feeling churns inside of me” he bleats on “Rearrange”. Me too, staring longingly at the exit sign. Thankfully, this album launch performance and Kane's songs are blissfully short. It's probably about time he tapped Turner up for another Last Shadow Puppets record.