José González – In Our Nature

{mosimage}For all those who still don’t know, José González is not from Spain or South America and he’s music is nothing similar to the typical Latin pop star. As a matter of fact, José Gonzalez is an intimate singer and songwriter from Sweden.

Born in Gothenburg to Argentine parents, González has slowly built international popularity with his first album, Veneer, released in 2003 in Sweden, but which didn’t make it to the UK and US markets until 2005. Since then, his career has been a success with his songs reaching the top of the charts and even getting into the popular television series The O.C.

This success can be considered quite unexpected for a collection of acoustic folk songs. But José González seems to ride on the same wave that is taking to popularity to other singer songwriters like Devendra Banhart. Hippie folk is hype again.

After this success, it could be expected that the follow up to Veneer could compromise the songwriting of the young Swedish singer and force him to be more commercial. But little has changed and In Our Nature shows the same characteristics: a minimalistic intimate sound built around the acoustic guitar and vocal melody, with the occasional addition of mild percussion and synthesizer.

The sound will remember classic folk singers like Crosby, Still and Nash, Tim Buckley or Leonard Cohen while the lyrics tend to refer to nature, love and certain doctrine that seems to denounce the selfish nature of human being “How long are you willing to go before you reach all your selfish goals”, the singer asks in the first verse of the album.

Surprisingly, José González decided to include in this album a cover of Massive Attack’s hit Teardrop. That seems to be a wise choice because the song really fits in the context of the album.

With In Our Nature, José González will overcome the always-difficult second album. But it will not be groundbreaking because of its many similarities to the first album. In the future, he will need to expand to sounds to avoid repeating himself. Before that happens, In Our Nature is a very enjoyable album and people will love it as it shows the already sold out show at Tavastia next December.

Rating 3/5