Since releasing ‘In Our Nature’ in 2007, JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ has been steadily collecting riffs and ideas for new songs.
An album consisting of seven years’ worth of musical sketches might naturally sprawl wildly in production and style, but on ‘Vestiges & Claws’ González has created a collection of songs that cohere just about perfectly. It travels from the glowering, riff-driven ‘Stories We Build, Stories We Tell’ via the groovy ‘Leaf Off / The Cave’ to the anthemic ‘Every Age’. For those familiar with José’s earlier work there is little doubt as to who is behind these recordings.
“I started out thinking that I wanted to continue in the same minimalistic style as on my two previous records,” says José. “But once I started the actual recordings I soon realized that most of the songs turned out better with added guitars and a more beat-like percussion, and with more backing vocals. Personally, I think this made it a more interesting and varied album.”
The result is less purist, less strict. One can find traces of inspired protest songs and eccentric folk rock here. Monotonous grooves and rhythms. Frustration and optimism. It’s a collection that is simultaneously confident, free and tentative.
Like JOSÉ GONZALÉZ’s previous releases, ‘Vestiges & Claws’ was largely recorded in his home kitchen and partly in Svenska Grammofonstudion, both in Gothenburg. Chirping birds, creaking doors and off-mic chattering can be heard intruding upon the recordings. José is careful to avoid editing out these imperfections - he wants you to feel the intimacy of the setting.
Where José’s previous albums, ‘Veneer’ and ‘In Our Nature’, might have sounded sparse and barren in parts, ‘Vestiges & Claws’ has an altogether new feeling to it, at once warmer and darker than before. He talks about how he’s found inspiration in sprawling 70’s Brazilian productions, American folk rock and West African desert blues this time. And how he’s decided to waive the principle of having everything on the album reproducible in a live context.