In Our Nature
Jose Gonzalez debut Veneer was a breakthrough album from nowhere - the Swedish born singer-songwriter's formula of nylon guitar, plucked and strummed, and gentle hushed voice, nothing new, but so stunningly hypnotic and compelling that he picked up fans everywhere. The use of the song Heartbeats in TV ads certainly helped expose more people to his music, but the mood is clearly favourable for his brand of folk-pop.
If you hadn't heard Veneer before, In Our Nature would be a great way to come in. In some ways it is a good next step - it sounds a lot more mature, and a touch darker and more expansive, avoiding the somewhat bleak tone of its predecessor, and adds in a quiet power, in songs like Down The Line, or Killing For Love. However, it's a short piece - 10 songs including a Massive Attack cover, and even then there are a couple of songs that are filler. Without the shock of the new to sustain it, the austere delivery format draws greatly on song quality. At his best, Gonzalez' songs have a Paul Simon/ Iron & Wine/ Eric Bachmann quality. It's almost a shame his highwater mark was set with Veneer - In Our Nature makes a great EP.