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Published: 2015/09/15
by Ron Hart

Jose Gonzalez: Vestiges & Claws

Mute

Of all the artists featured on the Red Hot Organization’s recent tribute to Arthur Russell, perhaps the one act who can lay claim to properly following in the legacy of the art pop icon is José González, frontman for the progressive indie outfit Junip. But where in the past he kept the work he did beyond his primary group a minimal and spare affair, Vestiges & Claws sees the singer expanding the sonic scope of his music released under his own name. His aim was apparently to shoot “somewhere between Shuggie Otis and Simon & Garfunkel.” But what he wound up with across these 10 new tracks is something wholly original unto himself, infusing elements of dark, psychedelic tropicalia (the kind Caetano Veloso does when he is on his A game), deep Tuareg blues patterns and even an early Village folk vibe to craft a warm bisque of mellow gold on par with the best work of Juana Molina and Vinicius Cantuaria alike. And whether you got into this infinitely talented Swede through his music on the soundtrack for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or have been down with Junip from the get go, Vestiges & Claws is a most compelling listen from root to tip.

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