Jose Gonzalez

"Vestiges And Claws"

(Shock); Folk

By ​Phil ​Bennett

A singer / songwriter / guitarist with a penchant for posing questions about big things by looking at the little things, Swedish-Argentinian Jose Gonzalez has now put out just his third album in 12 years.

Like his career, his music seems unhurried, and there’s an overarching mood of just letting the wind take him and his muse where’er it will.

He has a definite knack with a melody but it’s more his relaxed way of enhancing the songs with some nimble fretwork that wins the ear and enthrals the listener.

Stories We Build, Stories We Tell, for example, is based around a John Martyn/John Renbourn flavoured acoustic riff, handclap rhythms and a restrained self-accompanied vocal, which together comprise a delicately stoked little number that, given a different treatment, could have quite easily transformed into anthemic rifferama.

So, it’s all in the presentation. And what Gonzalez presents is quite minimalist - you can even hear the hiss of the tape at the end of some songs - almost like they’re for home use only.

Close your eyes and you can imagine him sitting at the kitchen table with the tape deck on ‘rec’, fingers plucking magical minarets of sound, his voice quietly encouraging the words along.

As cosy and comforting as the smell of toasting marshmallows, Vestiges and Claws is a wonderful album that swirls like smoke coils around the speakers.

It’s entrancing. It’s meditative. It’s full of loveliness.


​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.