Mikill Pane - Blame Miss Barclay
With The Streets and Dizzee Rascal two of the most successful breakouts from the whole British urban scene, you can now potentially add Mikill Pane to that short list. Already pals with Ed Sheeran and producing debut release Blame Miss Barclay with Jake Gosling, Payne has whittled a batch of thirty songs into the fifteen on show here. Bleak tales of life in the underbelly of London mixing with groovy tunes celebrating the fun of life, demonstrate Payne has a talent for vivid storytelling.
If you’re familiar with Panes’ summer(y) song, and previous TMF Single Of The Week, ‘Summer In The City’ then you’ll still only have half an idea of what to expect from this disparate mixtape of styles. The teacher tribute ‘Blame Miss Barclay’ is a rock/rap crossover, then there’s the reggae-lite of ‘Roll On’, while ‘Dirty Rider’ zips along with fun whistling through its hair. ‘Good Feeling’, about student life, will resonate with anyone who lived in a nasty flat or with a terrible housemate. The superpowered dreams of ‘Rooftops’ and possibly the sweetest musings on mice yet committed to tape, ‘Life On The Line’, are both vividly written.
The flipside of Pane is much darker. He’s managed to create the British ‘Stan’ with ‘Lucky’, a story that starts miserable and continues that way. ‘No-One Gets Left Behind’ details a dependent relationship, and the auto-tune assisted ‘You Don’t Know Me’ mixes serious social commentary with a taste for the comedic. By subverting the race relations discussion it’s clever, but is it too clever? ‘Fade Away’ is a despairing tale of the hopelessness of addiction, Pane driving home the pain and hope of his characters. Summing up his debut perfectly, the whole thing ends with double whammy of the funny, a paean to backsides, ‘Straight To The Bottom’, and the sad, simple, singalong of ‘The End’.
Mikill Pane walks a fine line with this debut; the wordplay is at its finest, but there is also the potential to lose some of the power of his message due to that quick-wittedness. Taken at face value then it’s often brilliant; listen a bit deeper and you’ll find more layers, uncomfortable subject matter being tackled sometimes seriously, sometimes with a touch of levity. Potential crossover success looms large.