Miles Kane – One Man Band review: 'A career-defining moment with relentless spirit'

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since Miles Kane topped the chart alongside Alex Turner with The Last Shadow Puppets’ debut record The Age of the Understatement. 

Fast forward to 2023, and to say that Miles’ latest solo offering marks a career-defining moment would be just that – a total and absolute understatement.

Miles Kane’s highly anticipated fifth studio album One Man Band hits store shelves and streaming services August 4, 2023, hot on the heels of 2022’s Change The Show, with the Northern artist showing no signs of slowing down any time soon – quite the opposite, in fact – with this blistering new record offering a pumping concoction of rock-driven indie anthems and reflective tracks, all wrapped in a vintage 60s/70s-inspired sound that makes no secret of the Birkenhead-born’s musical influences.

Speaking on the release, Miles said: “This album helped me rediscover why I picked up a guitar in the first place. This album is like a brand new, yet somehow familiar leather jacket. A comforting melting pot of all the music that has inspired and continues to inspire me every day.”

The album opens with the exhilarating indie-pop banger Troubled Son – a track tailor-made for festival stages. The hum of the guitar instantly draws parallels to Billy Idol’s Dancing with Myself, but Miles Kane quickly infuses it with his own unique charm. The track dances between a ’60s and ’80s feel, with introspective lyrics delivered with raw Northern grit embedded within a backdrop of roaring and self-assured guitars.

“It’s about the struggle we all have in life,” Miles said of the track. “Sometimes we have our s**t together and sometimes we don’t. This is me acknowledging my faults and my fears and showing the journey I’m taking as I try to figure it all out.”

As the album progresses, we are treated to a musical journey that reflects the 37-year-old’s personal growth and rediscovery. The Best Is Yet To Come pays homage to his Shadow Puppets’ roots with psychedelic guitars, thunderous drums and electric energy. It’s evident that the singer’s return to Liverpool, surrounded by his family, fuelled his creative fire and allowed him to craft an album that showcases him at his guitar hero best.

“Making the album back in Liverpool with my family really helped to bring this out of me,” Miles said of the writing process. Recorded at the brand new Kempston Street Studios, Miles teamed up with longtime collaborator and *checks notes* cousin James Skelly of The Coral for production duties, with another relative, Ian, playing the drums for the record, making it something of a family affair rather than a One Man Band.

The album’s title track forms the epicentre of the album, from which huge hooks, even bigger anthems and raw lyricism radiate.

“This was the first song I wrote for the new record,” Miles explained of the record’s important and visceral linchpin. “The moment it came together it set the tone for what I wanted the entire album to be.” Sharp and infectious with his signature resonant croon, the track embodies everything Miles Kane is, has been, and aspires to be. 

Never Taking Me Alive has a scrappy blues feel akin to The Black Keys, but it is Heartbreaks (The New Sensation) that reveals his long-standing admiration of T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, with One Man Band not only serving as a testament to Miles himself and where he is in his career but as a love letter to those who helped him get there.

The album doesn’t lose momentum as it rounds off into The Wonder; a track that demands audience participation with its singalong moments.