Single Review – Arctic Monkeys – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

Album number five is not too far away and the next single from ‘AM’ may be me starting to ‘believe the hype’ at long last. It’s probably because their previous sounds have been collated on my iPod through other bands and artists and the frustrating fact that they sat back and let the music industry turn to plastic pop despite having the potential to challenge them. Don’t get me wrong here. They write good standard songs and albums but never amazing ones. Never something that everyone picks up. That’s too why I don’t see them as a ‘artists of the generation’ like Oasis, Blur, Bowie, Beatles etc. At the moment they are the band of their fanatical and reliable fan-base. But like I said, the potential has always been there and I feel this song might be them delivering upon it. The bass line that’s deep and catchy is a great hook that creates a steady beat that the other elements work around. The guitars are only subtle as the bass does so much of the work and gives the song more depth while keeping it simple. Naturally the percussion follows suit. It’s also a song that shows that Alex Turner is developing well as a vocalist too. I think compared to ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ it stands out more for being more imaginative and creative. That’s why you should check it out.

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Friday at Glastonbury

Friday was a crazy day at Glastonbury with a truly awesome line-up at every stage. The headline act on the Pyramid stage was of course Arctic Monkeys. They may have question marks about their musical and technical originality and innovation  which have not gone away with their new single, but they are a class act live and the band played a seamless set of old and new in which their sound was immaculate and Alex Turner had the crowd in the palm of his hands, especially with the string version of Mardy Bum. The whole showman gag was a bit daft but if you were an Arctic Monkeys fan then this set will have had your eyes glazed over and had you foaming at the mouth. For everyone else, you could appreciate a well oiled machine efficiently churning out hit after hit. Miles Kanes appearance was a bonus for the closing tune: 505. Anyone else was enjoying the Disco legend that was Nile Rodgers who was headlining the West Holts stage who has certainly attracted a fresh generation to his music thanks to his work with Daft Punk. ‘Get Lucky’ was just another song to add to his long list of hits which he played out with Chic. Also on the West Holts stage was Seasick Steve who also put on an excellent performance with his make shift instruments and with contributions from John Paul Jones on the bass. Foals played a decent set before Portishead came and captivated their audience in a very different way to the Arctic Monkeys.Headlining the Park Stage were The Horrors who as always played a dual set filled with moments of energy and consideration. Many flocked there to catch the odd new track off their always massively anticipated new album later this year. One or two were played but they are unamed as of now. They closed as usual with the drawn out frenzy that is ‘Moving Further Away’ and were a success like their fellow headliners.

However Crystal Castles on the John Peel stage were not. Their set was just 40 minutes and started 20 minutes late. Everyone usually revels in Alice Glass’ insane actions but the crowd were left a little cold after she mimiced strangling herself with the mic wire, apparently fainted and didn’t come back for an encore. Bastille gathered a large crowd that went beyond the tent for their set on that very stage ealier on in the day. However the crowds were even bigger for the 21st century mod that is Miles Kane. Wearing a Union Jack harrington jacket, Miles is perhaps one of the only people at Glastonbury who can pull off wearing a flag or wallpaper. Everyone else can forget it. He played a set full of urgency and raw energy as he switched from old to new in effortless fashion. He was joined by Alex Turner for a Last Shadow Puppets number for which Miles returned the favour later on. Alt J attracted a much bigger audience then perhaps everyone was expecting, including themselves as they played out much of their debut album.

Jake Bugg was at ease on the Pyramid stage in the afternoon with two new tunes and a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’ Even earlier than that were Haim in theif first appearance at the fesitval while Beady Eye were a little low key in opening the days proceedings. The Vaccines too, gathered a large crowd to showcase their two albums and their new track ‘Melody Calling’. Savages produced a faultless and high octane performance at the William’s Green stage and they smashed through a set that featured hits from their excellent album: Silence Yourself. That experience will be bigger and better today when they take on the John Peel stage. Tame Impala put on a great glam-psychedelic masterclass of which ‘Elephant’ was the centrepiece. Their deep sound would have better showcased in the John Peel tent but it was great nonetheless. Ghosts certainly turned a few heads with their mixture of sounds and face masks. After all that no one seemed to remember acts like Rita Ora who was certainly put in her place in being one of the only plastic pop acts presnet against a fantasic backdrop of a variety of skilled musicians from various genres. Expect the same today!

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Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are Review

There is no doubting Miles Kane’s ability as a musician and his developing song-writing talent. Though it’s not the most innovative thing ever, it’s not what he’s aiming for and there seems to be too much focus on what he wears or who he’s mates with rather than his music. People are obsessed about whether he is a mod or not and send him to the gallows or not depending if he passes their judgement. However he’s also hugely over-hyped by those like the NME who are always setting him up for a fall by acting as if he’s some saviour to revive the depleted music industry. In today’s world it’s nearly impossible for one person to do such a thing and what he’s doing currently will not do the job either so they are already setting him up for a fall in that case. He can’t win. However DFWYA is one of the most solid second albums for a while. He has played it safe with what he knows from Colour of the Trap but what he knows has enough scope for change. He’s done that with DFWYA. Each song is much more snappy and to the point and the excess and wild moments from his first album have been much  more controlled with this album to create a more mature and realistic second album. A small step in the right direction instead of the flatlinging of some peoples second albums like The Vaccines or Mumford & Sons but to be fair to The Vaccines; their second album was only months after their first. Mumford & Sons had a lot longer.

‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ as the title track for the album which is probably one of the most familiar songs compared to Colour of the Trap. Those disstorted and sharp burts from the lead guitar are pretty familiar but are hardly a bad element. The similar song structure coupled with a different sort of rythm section which worked well together had also snookered him in how he could do nothing but fill the empty space with ‘la’s’ but if it’s a lead single some sing a long quality perhaps should be there and it’s provided. Apart from that the song is full of energy and confidence that a Miles Kane track typically has and you do get the slight feeling he was trying to pin-point the areas of his songs that he thought would make a great combination for the lead track and to some extent it work but perhaps it was too hypo-analysed. ‘Give Up was a single released mushc earlier on in the year and it does feel sort of detatched from the rest of the album in that. In certian ways ‘Give Up’ is a “heavier” and revved up version of Miles Kane with sharper and aggressive riffs with Miles’ vocals ripping through your eardrums like the guitars. However it’s also quite controlled and considered in the bridge sections with all the elements changing the tone along with Miles’ deeper vocals that flicks back to the in yer face feel to the song which often works well if it’s not over done. 

‘Out of Control’ is perhaps a little less typical in how it’s more melodic and very considered with acoustic and string elements. The very subtle injections of that sharp guitar riff works well along with the other two elements to play the supporting role and give full focus to Miles and the vocals and lyrics. Other tunes like ‘You’re gonna get it’ have a great rythmic quality to them that marries well with the exuberant style Miles Kane better than it did on the title track. The song if much more rock ‘n’ roll leaning than the alternative angle that songs like ‘Give Up’ have and it gives a better sense of variety and depth in the album but not to a massive extent. The scattered and stop start approach of the instumentals on songs like ‘Tonight’ also cahnge at each interval to mimic the vocal direction to lead to the smooth transition to the chorus and at times is very bass driven and the album itself is much mor bass driver than ‘Colour of the Trap’ and it’s all the better for it. The bass eliminates many of the different guitar tracks and actually gives Miles more space for the vocals and the guitar solo’s that are more valued because of it. It’s not a massive change of direction but he’s certainly tidied up any weak links or any mess from the first album. He’s also made a slightly more melodic and rythmic album that is an even better representation of a live Miles Kane performance and that is something he excels in. My ears are still ringing from when I saw him last. With all that in mind the album is a slight improvement on Colour of the Trap that see’s Miles try one or two new things in a subtle fashion. His core fans will love it for sure and his musicality may drawn in others too. Not mindblowing but not too bad either

Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are = 7/10

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