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Album Review of Jose Gonzalez’s “Vestiges and Claws”

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By Chelsea Vanderheyden
Music Reviewer

Artist: Jose Gonzalez
Album: Vestiges and Claws
Website: http://jose-gonzalez.com/
Release Date: February 17, 2015

Jose Gonzalez Album art for "Vestiges and Claws"
Jose Gonzalez Album art for “Vestiges and Claws” Photo Courtesy of jose-gonzalez.com

Vestiges and Claws is Jose Gonzalez’s first album in seven years since In Our Nature. Recorded at his home in Gothenburg, Sweden, this is Gonzalez’s first attempt to take on the role of both producer and artist. The collection of songs in this album share fluid, tranquil tones that flow into one another beautifully.

Listening to this album feels like being wrapped in a cozy blanket and sipping a hot cup of tea on a cold dreary day. In his biography that’s published on his website, Gonzalez claims that this sound is something pleasant, experimental and distorted, “somewhere between Shuggie Otis and Simon & Garfunkel.” Gonzalez’s voice weaving in and out of the melody of an acoustic guitar accompanied by wood drums is warm and welcoming, yet the lyrics that unveil some pressing views he has on humanity, civilization and solidarity are a reminder of coldness that exists.

My personal favorite track, “Leaf Off / The Cave”, voices a clear message in an energizing harmony. When Gonzalez sings, “Let old tracks take you out from the stars… let reason guide you… let the life lead you out,” – he is saying to step back and look at ones mistakes and experiences is important in gaining perspective, and applying this to the present will ultimately lead one to understand “what it means to be alive.”

Gonzalez’s voice, sound and point of view are all very developed and that is reflected throughout this album. By taking on the role as a producer and artist, this album is surely a milestone in his career. It is brilliant and proves that Gonzalez’s unchanging music is the result of a deep thinker who stands worlds apart from other musical artists.

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