Producer and electronic connoisseur Will Ozanne, better known as Gang Colours, back in 2012 wowed many with his slow-revealing debut The Keychain Collection. Lots of critics drew links between Southampton-er Ozanne and James Blake, noting the post-dubstep-cum-soultronica stylistic similarities. On his second full-length effort, he continues to mine that vein, edging closer and closer to the core of introspection, and though he’s not necessarily using frontier methods to do so, that doesn’t detract from the calibre of his affecting sounds.
Invisible In Your City plays host to a plethora of swirling, fizzling synth balladry. Why Didn’t You Call? starts as it means to go on, with a soft tap of drum machine and spiritual piano keys, that together evoke thoughts of an empty cathedral bathed in dawn light. Led By Example utilises a similar formula. Reverb-ed vocal samples, chopped into itty-bitty fragments, bounce between sacrosanct piano chords. However, it differs from other tracks by the inclusion of future-garage clicks and ’90s pads. Home, featuring comparatively massive dance elements, Scandi-folk vox like Ásgeir or Sin Fang and a sexy sax, is a new breed of ballad, and probably one of Ozanne’s most experimental works to date.
Ozanne isn’t afraid to get more experimental, albeit generally within the confines of his chosen genre. The Rebel The Rhythm sees a rousing bout of skewed trip-hoppery infect his maudlin piano haze. He’s inundated by throes of distortion and electronica staples such as robotic synths, blips, bloops and prolonged electric drones. It’s considerably more vivacious than much of the album. River For Dinner, with panpipe hooks and old-school hip-hop twinges, provides a gorgeous respite from the sadness. Well, it’s still pretty morose, but in a different way. It’s more openly despairing; there’s less subtlety. There’s heaps of pace in this, and rather than being all weepy-eyed and gloomy, Ozanne seems agitated, energised even. It’s proof, sort of, that he can escape his swoony glum-cave once in a while.
Invisible In Your City is flecked with R&B too – tracks like ‘Always Crashing In The Same Car’ feels like something off Azekel‘s distinctly LDN Circa EP. It’s super-smooth, silky and soulful – the focus is on Ozanne’s voice rather than the glacial harmonies. In fact, Ozanne’s voice becomes something of a beacon on his sophomore effort. The instrumentation is still a wonder to behold, but it seems a confidence has been found, and instead of the mumble-mumble that post-dubstep seems to incite, he often blares into the unknown. It’s not powerhouse diva-ing like Mariah Carey or anything, but Ozanne proves that his pipes are damn golden.
You could mark Ozanne down for neglecting to push boundaries into new territories and/or tread a new path, but he’s got a solid method that works splendidly for both him and listener. Whether he has enough to say in this style for a full third collection remains to be seen, but he’s got plenty of delightful morsels scattered throughout Invisible In Your City, and finds new ways to make the style he mongers interesting. Where Blake’s forked away from his initial sonic route, Ozanne has stayed true to his roots and is peddling a gloriously emotional torrent of untamed electronica, soul-pop and darkwave. It’s both uplifting and tormented, both grandiose and intimate. Ozanne’s command over his music is masterful. Indulge yourself, and let him lead you onto a mesmerising journey.