Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

In Our Nature


Jose Gonzalez's debut Veneer was remarkable for a number of reasons. First, despite what you might think, looking at the singer's name, he comes from Sweden. Second, he sings the kind of lo-fi, guitar-driven folk-rock normally associated with the likes of Elliott Smith and Leonard Coen.

It's Gonzalez's rich, cultured voice that sets him apart from the aforementioned troubadours and Veneer was a minor sensation, a sleeper hit that took two years to earn an international release - in 2005 - before it charted anywhere outside Northern Europe.

In the years since, Gonzalez has formed a three-piece band (Junip) as a sideline and been busy touring the globe, surprising with his song selection. Audiences in Australia, for example, were delighted to hear him give a stripped down version of Kylie Minogue's Hand on Your Heart a sensitive workout.

On In Our Nature, though, Gonzalez has much darker matters on his mind, beginning with the barbed How Low and its talk of wars that never seem to end.

Backed by superb, multi-layered guitar work, mixing both Spanish and classical influences, Gonzalez's collection of songs perhaps reflect the thoughts of young man who has seen the world.

The title track is a pounding plea for tolerance and peace and it opens itself up to another of Gonzalez's surprises: a haunting, almost whispered version of Massive Attack's majestic Teardrops that comes to a thundering conclusion.

Gonzalez's Argentinian roots are revealed with the hand clap that drives Time to Send Someone Away, but for the most part he's content to let his guitar do the work, while his haunting voice wafts over everything.