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Vestiges & Claws – José González

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Vestiges & Claws
by José González

Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez returns with his 3rd album Vestiges and Claws. You may remember Gonzalez from his track “Heartbeats” or “Far away”; featured in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption.

Vestiges and claws is a beautiful album, it has Gonzalez’s signature minimalist sound; everything is stripped back to organic sounds with his soft whisper like vocals and expertly finger picked guitar.

On this album Gonzalez keeps the production sparing and simple, most of the tracks are typically just guitar and vocals. However there are some other natural sounds thrown into the mix, such as hand clapping and guitar thumping. Gonzales maintains his signature lo-fi recoding style which helps keep everything sounding natural, honest and warm.

Overall, it’s a great album if you’re looking for something more traditional or mellow to listen to, with just enough up-tempo bites to grab your attention.
However Vestiges and Claws doesn’t feel quite up to the standard of Gonzalez’s previous solo efforts. There are some tracks that border on just simple, easy listening as they slip-by without making any real impact.

If you’re looking for something similar with more of strong presence I’d recommend checking out Junip; Gonzalez’s band that released their debut album in 2013.

Stand out tracks of Vestiges and Claws:

The opening Track “With the Ink of a Ghost” sounds hauntingly beautiful and seems to hearken back to the style of his first album, this is easily one of the strongest tracks of the album

“Stories we Build, Stories we Tell”
is a another strong track which is quiet reminiscent of the sound from his band Junip with a steady hypnotic rhythm that is easy to get swept up by and powerful riff that swells up as the track goes on

The Forest”
evokes a feeling of times past; it’s a soft beautiful track that has a delicate simple guitar part surrounded by a flute that sweeps in, out and around the track.

Leaf off / the Cave
is the mostly densely populated track with hand claps and additional percussion and multi layered vocals, which all works really to get you caught up in the track’s upbeat tempo.

“What Will”
a six minute long track which starts off slow, but as the track goes on the guitar starts to twist and turn speed up and slow down hooking you in with its hypnotic groove