In Our Nature
The long-awaited follow-up to Jose Gonzalez’s excellent 2003 debut, Veneer, continues down the same hypnotic acoustic finger-picked guitar path. As the winner of a Swedish Grammy for Best Newcomer and the Swedish Government’s Music Export Award, Gonzalez is a surprisingly modest performer, deft at his instrument and gorgeous in his melodies, but very decidedly low-key at all times. This lack of fanfare makes him easy to be overlooked, just as many of the angry, even hostile, sentiments of his songs are likely to slip past, considering the soothing music that supports them. The title track and “Killing for Love” are anti-war poems, while the opener, “How Low,” is hardly the campfire lullaby it seems on the surface. “The Nest” is his nature poem. Gonzalez adds a beatbox here and double-tracked vocals throughout. However, production is essentially minimal. The songs are meant less to be heard than overheard, less contemplated than absorbed slowly as ambient textures that quietly assimilate as a natural part of the day.