Available on: Brownswood LP
The debut album from Southampton’s Will Ozanne, a.k.a. Gang Colours, is deceptively slight. It clocks in at barely over half an hour in length, and its ten tracks seem less fully-formed pieces than initial sketches of fleeting feelings. These impressionistic qualities serve it well, though. There’s a pastoral, organic quality to Ozanne’s patchwork of creaking beats, found sounds and electronic ornamentation that helps it go way beyond folktronica clichés to sneak under your skin.
Dappled throughout with simple but effective piano lines and judiciously restrained use of Ozanne’s own voice – gently melancholic but never gratingly plaintive – the album’s immersive nature is reminiscent, at times, of an even more contemplative Nicolas Jaar, such as on the hypnotic ‘I Don’t Want You Calling’. Aqueous synth droplets and dusty crackles lend ‘To Repel Ghosts’ a tactility that lands somewhere between soothing and disquieting. Meanwhile, Ozanne’s understated vocal delivery on ‘Fancy Restaurant’ is the ideal way to convey the song’s sweetly romantic sentiments: “I know you don’t care that much about money / but I’mma make some and take you out,” sung as much to himself as to his paramour, embodies a kind of endearing chivalry, low-key instead of overbearing, as well as an awareness of how to find satisfaction in small victories rather than grand gestures.
It’s an approach that typifies the overall work: The Keychain Collection is an album of miniatures painted in tiny brushstrokes, and its relative attenuation belies the richness of its details. It’s superb mood music, too: there’s little music that hits the spot on a hungover spring Sunday morning as effectively as its intricate, delicate softness.