Album: Jose Gonzalez

Veneer, PEACEFROG
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Though raised in Sweden, José González's Latin American roots shine through on this debut album, which has hoisted him to unlikely stardom in Scandinavia, as a sort of unorthodox troubadour. It's easy to see why: there's an eerie calm about Veneer, which apart from a trumpet break on the last track, consists of just González's understated vocals, fattened by double-tracking which renders them curiously still but solid, set to the hypnotic thrumming of his cyclical guitar patterns, with his occasional rudimentary percussion adding the subtlest of rhythm skeletons. There's an equivalent economy about his lyrics, which sometimes feature just two or three lines repeated a few times. But however minimal and undemonstrative his style, there's a compelling mood to the album which recalls Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, Kings Of Convenience, Tim Buckley's folk-jazz, Brazilian Tropicalismo singers like João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso, and José Feliciano. His songs try to

Though raised in Sweden, José González's Latin American roots shine through on this debut album, which has hoisted him to unlikely stardom in Scandinavia, as a sort of unorthodox troubadour. It's easy to see why: there's an eerie calm about Veneer, which apart from a trumpet break on the last track, consists of just González's understated vocals, fattened by double-tracking which renders them curiously still but solid, set to the hypnotic thrumming of his cyclical guitar patterns, with his occasional rudimentary percussion adding the subtlest of rhythm skeletons. There's an equivalent economy about his lyrics, which sometimes feature just two or three lines repeated a few times. But however minimal and undemonstrative his style, there's a compelling mood to the album which recalls Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, Kings Of Convenience, Tim Buckley's folk-jazz, Brazilian Tropicalismo singers like João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso, and José Feliciano. His songs try to crystallise life-lessons, being about things like relieving another's burden ("Crosses"), hardening oneself against life's tribulations ("Save Your Day"), sloughing off introversion ("Stay in the Shade") and regarding success and failure as imposters out to trick us. A fresh and intriguing talent.

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