Gang Colours

The Keychain Collection

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"No Clear Reason," Will Ozanne's Gang Colours debut, was one of the highlights on Gilles Peterson's sixth Brownswood Bubblers compilation. The track fell somewhere between downtempo electronica and U.K. garage, with a sample of the vocals from SWV's "Weak" augmenting its mixed blissful/distraught emotional state. The following year's In Your Gut Like a Knife, a four-track EP, also edged toward the dancefloor, but its hushed, heavy-lidded, and torpid title track -- with Whitney Houston cunningly overlaid -- proved to be a more telling indicator of The Keychain Collection's character. Much of this ten-track/33-minute album is skeletal in construction with slight vacillations between forms of contentedness and heartache. The frequent use of salient piano, along with occasional vocals -- somewhat hesitant, understated -- are likely to earn James Blake comparisons, but Ozanne's voice is lower in the mix, less "performing songwriter"-oriented, and a shade more relatable, as heard in the charming "Fancy Restaurant": "I know you don't care that much about money/But I'm gonna make some and take you out." Ozanne's beats patter and lap and are in no kind of hurry. It's all contemplative, with only "Botley in Bloom" ever threatening to force a sweat. On first blush, the album's lack of anything with the prancing grace and energy of "No Clear Reason" is a minor disappointment. After a couple spins, however, that notion is replaced with anticipation for Ozanne's next move.

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