John Miles: Miles High

Inexplicable reissue of nondescript 1981 album.

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For those long in the pop tooth, John Miles is a distant memory, most vividly recalled for his 1976 hit Music, a pomp-classical tribute to the medium of music in its various forms. It’s the sort of thing that might creep onto a Guilty Pleasures playlist and raises the possibility that Miles’ back catalogue might be worthy of rehabilitation.

Miles High, however, scotches any such prospect. Its best moment is opener Turn Yourself Loose, best imagined rendered by men with highlighted hair and tight red trousers.

Thereafter, it deteriorates into a frictionless confection of odourless powerpop, a light plastic version of heavy metal that makes Survivor sound like Sunn O))), buffed to the high shine you only get from session musicians, the sort of music whose sole concerns are technical competence and high places in overseas charts.

The nadir is single Reggae Man, of which the best can be said is that it is fractionally superior to Paul Nicholas’s Reggae Like It Used To Be. Like Robbie The Robot programmed to perform a basic skank, it’s a clunky piece of design. The British public snubbed it and Miles sank slowly to the Where Are They Now? seabed.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.