Ripping with an inspired glam-punk energy, Miles Kane's third solo outing, 2018's Coup de Grace, finds the Last Shadow Puppets co-leader honing his influences with diamond-eyed intensity. The story goes that after becoming creatively blocked following the breakup of a two-year relationship, Kane settled with collaborator Jamie T. into a hotel room where he once again recaptured his rock & roll muse. That anecdote might imply something labored, but on the contrary, while the emotions expressed on Coup de Grace often have a literate, philosophical complexity, the music crackles with a bright, youthful immediacy. Helping achieve this tactile, glitter-era aesthetic is producer John Congleton. Together, he and Kane keep things spare but effective, focusing on punchy, laser-beam guitar riffs and propellent-infused drumbeats. Cuts like the raging "Too Little Too Late" and sneering "Cold Light of the Day" are hooky, New York Dolls-esque anthems that stab with a buzzy electric swagger. Similarly evocative is the low-down, T. Rex-style groover "Cry on My Guitar," in which Kane coos with rakish charm, "Every time you leave me, yeah, it comes to this/Mix another medicine, mad scientist/I said, yeah, I'm so high and strung." Elsewhere, he evokes the blunt club punk of Gang of Four on "Something to Rely On," and conscripts Zach Dawes, Loren Humphrey, and Tyler Parkford of Mini Mansions for the kinetic, uber-infectious punk-disco title track. While much of Coup de Grace sparkles with the click of platform heels, it's not all glitter and good times. Thankfully, for fans of Last Shadow Puppets' baroque menace, there are several dusky, Bowie-esque ballads here, including the Lana Del Rey co-write "Loaded" and the shimmering, synth-accented "Killing the Joke."
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