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Film, Album, Single and Event Reviews

Album Review: Mikill Pane - Blame Miss Barclay

  • By AndyVale
  • 15 Sep 2013
  • Release Date 16 Sep 2013
Supajam reviews Mikill Pane's debut album.

When everyone from Tinie Tempah to Harry Styles has championed an artist over the last few years you have to take notice, even if it's only out of curiosity. Mikill Pane's style of witty wordplay and dry humour has built up a healthy buzz around him, along with his brutal verses on Ed Sheeran's 'Little Lady' (the less radio-friendly version of 'The A-Team'). After being a shining light on the underground for a long time, it's time to step up to the main stage.

The album opens with the title track, a chest-thumping salute to the English teacher who encouraged Justin Smith Uzomba to become Mikill Pane. If any of this offends, titilates, enrages or enlightens the listener then the blame is hers. A gripping beat ramps up the tempo for the final charge, where Pane outlines his intentions to write honest and integral music as opposed to vapid hits. Ironically, this diatribe is delivered at one of the catchiest parts of the whole record. But whatever, it sounds good and like the Delorean hitting 88mph we are slammed right into Pane's world. It all begins.

Not since The Streets' A Grand Don't Come For Free has a rap album perfectly encapsulated stories, characters and a whole scene in such a way. You're not getting a picture of some trainer-advert urban landscape, you're getting a faded swipe-card that grants you access to the streets you probably fear.

Sometimes you find there's a good reason to be wary of them; 'Lucky' and 'I've Realised' continue the story of a nasty drug dealer whose life was the focal point of Pane's earlier Lucky Strike EP. At other times you'll see a lighter side, such as the guy worrying about getting people to come to his house party in 'Good Feeling' or the numerous fantastic arse-based compliments on 'Straight To the Bottom'.

The folks you meet in this album pass each other and pop up in different places, rewarding multiple listens. Looking at the connections and relations between people is the most satisfying aspect of the album, it will warm or chill you long after the puns have worn off and the melodies have left your head. Teenage lovers intertwine through shattered families, uni kids naively navigate their new surroundings of dodgy landlords and dealers, Arsenal supporting boyfriends meet Tottenham supporting dads, a teacher inspires a student to become a master.

Pane's earlier singles hinted that this album would be an enjoyable listen. He can knock together a fun chorus, make a quick observation and tie it together in a pretty bundle. That's great, but the depth of personality given to the many faces we meet along this little journey is a much greater skill. It doesn't work as nicely on radio, but if you give this a go then your speakers won't be playing much else for a while.

You can buy it right here while you check out the title track below.


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