Vestiges & Claws

Vestiges & Claws

by José GonzálezJosé González

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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Overview

Swedish folksinger José González's third full-length album, 2015's Vestiges & Claws, is a deceptively uncomplicated, poetic, and utterly poignant work. Coming seven years after his last album, the superb and similarly introspective In Our Nature, Vestiges & Claws finds González in a deeply thoughtful state of mind ruminating over such timely albeit universal themes as religion vs. science, the relatively brief length of our lives on Earth, and the heartbreaking complexities of human relationships. Largely recorded at his home studio, with final touches done at the Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, the album features González singing and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar with a spare amount of backing percussion, flute, and vocals throughout. While that might sound limiting, González is a musical universe unto himself, employing a fluid fingerpicking style that can sound as tiny as a whisper one second and as big as an orchestra the next. He also writes songs with a such a gorgeous harmonic palette, full of dichotomous suspended chords and lush minor/major juxtapositions, that your ears are never hungry for musical nourishment. Drawing, as he has done in the past, upon such '60s and '70s influences as Nick Drake, Robert Wyatt, and others, González often sounds like an echo of the past, while his lyrical subject matter remains utterly current. Just as he supplies plenty of instrumental food for thought, González proffers an abundance of substantive, existential lyrics. These are incredibly moving songs full of bittersweet asides that strike you at first with their haiku-like simplicity, only to draw you deeper into González's iceberg of ideas. And while he addresses these ideas explicitly in "What Will," questioning "What will it be? Our legacy/Faith in dogma or reasoning," elsewhere he is more imagistic and opaque. On "Leaf Off/The Cave," he turns the biblical Adam and Eve story upon itself, singing "Why can't you/Take the leaf off your mouth/Now that you/Have the facts on your side/Take a moment to reflect who we are." Ultimately, it's this ability to stop you in your tracks and hold you with the warmth of his voice as you contemplate your existence that makes Vestiges & Claws such an arresting, uplifting joy. [Vestiges & Claws was also released on LP.]

Product Details

Release Date: 02/17/2015
Label: Mute U.S.
UPC: 0724596961216
catalogNumber: 69612
Rank: 27720

Tracks

  1. With the Ink of a Ghost
  2. Let It Carry You
  3. Stories We Build, Stories We Tell
  4. The Forest
  5. Leaf Off/The Cave
  6. Every Age
  7. What Will
  8. Vissel
  9. Afterglow
  10. Open Book

Album Credits

Customer Reviews