Hampshire producer Will Ozanne, aka Gang Colours (pictured), made one of 2012’s most wonderfully understated electronica albums, ‘The Keychain Collection’. To some, it delivered what they’d expected of James Blake’s own, slightly short-falling debut collection; to others, it was a set that simply existed without parallels, a down-tempo delight for post-rave reflection.
Ozanne’s second Gang Colours LP, ‘Invisible In Your City’, is scheduled for a September 13th release via Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. The album’s already enjoyed some solid Clash HQ spins, and we can report that it’s double-thumbs-up impressive. Listen to the title-track here.
So, to extend our thanks for delivering an excellent record, Clash thought we’d send some tracks Will’s way, for review. And you know, he only went and reviewed them. Thanks, Will!
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Noah And The Whale – ‘Lifetime’
The main guitar riff and general rhythm of this track shares a lot of the same DNA as that track by Fountains Of Wayne, ‘Stacy’s Mom’. This is not a terrible thing; it's just something I needed to voice out loud. Soon after the ‘Stacy’ guitar riff gets going, another guitar sound whines from the distance with some very U2-like reverb applied. I’m feeling nostalgic. And it seems the video lends itself well to this nostalgic notion too, with its ‘90s handheld camera filter feel.
The production on the track is very clean, and although the lyrics aren’t super riveting, I still think it achieves what it sets out to do in a tasteful and pleasing way. I can imagine it working well in a daytime festival setting, perhaps. And on a second listen its already growing on me.
Update: on a third listen my general mood has risen slightly. Follow me on Twitter for more exciting and insightful updates like that.
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Rainy Milo – ‘Deal Me Briefly’
Right from the off, I'm sensing this is a bedroom studio production. I too am somewhat of a bedroom producer and therefore feel I have the super fantastic ability to smell one from mile away. And after 30 seconds of hard research, I find that it is the talented Chet Faker behind the wheel on this beat. Nice.
It was the snare that sealed the deal for me. It sounds like one called ‘Snare 3’ from the early Fruity Loops stock hip-hop drum samples. It was also used by a lot of hip-hop producers a few years back.
The track itself is generally pleasing. The lyrics have a quirky sense of depth to them. But all of that is kind of dragged down by the chorus a little, I found. It’s the thing that people are going to remember and sing along to though, and for that function it works well. It’s just a little pedestrian for my taste.
But then all of a sudden a trumpet comes in at around 2.30, which immediately makes everything in the track a little bit better. I like the small, one-off moments in a track. Kudos to Mr Faker for these delicious details.
Right now I'm kind of feeling I’ve had my fill of hip, sexy girls being sexy and hip for major labels, post AlunaGeorge. Then again, I don't really keep my ear to the street, so this could be exactly what the public needs right now. And maybe I should just keep my mouth shut.
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Blitz Kids – ‘Run For Cover’
After listening to this track I had to remind myself that I have my reviewer hat on today, which means I will keep an open mind to everything, even if it’s not particularly to my exquisitely tasteful taste.
This doesn't mean to imply that the track in question is completely toilet; I’ve just never been drawn to this style of music. I’m just a simple guy who desires sweet and deep thought behind each kick and synth sound to provoke the right emotional impact.
Before this track got all cleaned in the engineering process, I like to imagine that they had everything turned up to 11 in their suburban garage with the door gaping open onto the street on a scorching hot summer day, with someone’s mum bringing round pink lemonade, smiling intermittently.
That version would probably more to my taste, because one of my problems with this track is the pungent and shiny engineer’s gloss it has draped over the top of it. I need more grit and gutter from something that has this kind of speed and energy.
On a more positive note, there's a moment in the chorus that kind of reminded me of a bit in ‘Come On Eileen’. I hope other people pick up on this.
Also, I just remembered rinsing Burnout 3: Takedown on the PlayStation 2, and not minding hearing ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ by My Chemical Romance a thousand times whilst driving at the speed of light, heading towards potential gold medal glory. It worked very well, and I kind of want to do the same with this track in the background. Maybe I’ll beat my personal best.
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Primal Scream – ‘Invisible City’
How dare this track’s title take some of the words from my upcoming single and album, called ‘Invisible In Your City’? I guess that can’t be helped though and I’m sure a clichéd statement like, “Everything has already been done, you've just got to do it in your own way,” would work triumphantly here.
But pointless word issues and self-promotion aside, this track is sounding okay in the cans. For a band as well established as Primal Scream, it’s got be a tall order to conjure up new thoughts in new ways to a new (and old) fanbase. But I can still taste some of that original fire that shot them to rock ‘n’ roll glory a few years back – and for that I must applaud them for this energetic and name-stealing effort.
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Rudimental feat. Foxes – ‘Right Here’
There's a certain attention to detail to Rudimental’s general production skill that does appeal to me. What they are doing right now reminds me of what Chase & Status did a few years back with their debut album. With its high production level, its erratic yet somehow seamless mixing of genres, and just in the way it generally is being received by the masses right now.
There are moments in this track that sound a little like a hyped-up version of that Rihanna track with the Jamie XX beat. But it certainly finds its own path amongst these loose parallels I’m finding.
I predict that this track will go down very well at some kind of university campus event. I can almost see people taking their tops off and swinging them around their heads right now.
As much as I would like to see them do 100 more tracks like the one they did featuring MNNEK & Syron a little while back – here – I’m still intrigued as to where they might go next. Good luck to them!
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Tinie Tempah feat. 2 Chainz – ‘Trampoline’
I heard the other day that 2 Chainz did 95 collaborations last year and has already done about 30 this year. So I guess I should have seen this collaboration coming. I didn’t, but I don't really have much of a clue about popular things these days.
For this track, Tinie seems to be almost adopting a kind of Danny Brown flow. Even almost with an American twang to his voice? I’m already feeling that we might be losing him a little bit in his quest to conquer the American market. But maybe that’s just a wild assumption I’ve just made after 30 seconds of listening to this track for the first time.
The beat quickly sucks me into its trap-drenched portal and I forget about all the assumptions I made previously. And yes, the use of the word “tambourine” as a lyric is very suspect. But I don’t really care – it’s not a track about emotional depth, it’s a track to make your body and mind respond in a positive way. A nice slice of escapism, if you will.
You don’t have to think hard and sometimes it’s nice to not have to think, and just shake your whammy fanny. Slick production, slick video. Isn’t this what we want from Mr Tempah?
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