Jose Gonzalez
Veneer


4.5
superb

Review

by Daniel Incognito EMERITUS
February 10th, 2007 | 28 replies | 9,137 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Through his simple song structures and impeccable Spanish guitar playing, Jose Gonzalez steps ahead of his modern day contemporaries with Veneer and offers a tantalising glimpse of what he is capable of.

You could make comparisons to numerous singer and songwriters of the past 50 years with Jose Gonzalez' début album Veneer. Strands of everybody from Leonard Cohen to Tracy Chapman to Elliott Smith rear their head, or are at least imagined. Such comparisons certainly seem warranted, with Gonzalez's unlimited potential seemingly matching these great names at almost every point in the album.

Gonzalez's unique background being raised in Sweden and of Argentinian descent makes for interesting reading, and irresistible fodder for any review of Veneer. The music itself does not offer quite such unconventional styling, yet nevertheless his technique is very much his own. Sharp Spanish guitars dominate the album, with his melodies twisting and turning with purpose, yet seeming to end where they started, as in Lovestain. Gonzalez's skill on the guitar is displayed throughout, with his subtle variation in sounds brought to life through his striking precision, testament to his skills as a songwriter. Perhaps one of his closest contemporaries in this respect is Sufjan Stevens, both artists being adept at crafting simple, subtle and graceful melodies.

Gonzalez's cover of The Knife's Heartbeats is quite possibly Gonzalez's defining moment on the album, his Spanish guitar following a simple arpeggiated melody whilst his voice floats in melancholy. Gonzalez does not create beauty through bombastic movements, but tries to entice listeners with each small graceful movement. This somewhat minimalist approach to the composition of his songs resonates through much of the album, yet despite this his emotion doesn't remain in check and reserved. Hints shows Gonzalez at his most animated, his typically precise guitar work instead played with great force. Whilst accuracy is lost, he puts his emphasis on stressing the notes, creating a startling tensity of sound. His voice too shifts away from its hushed confinements, and instead working itself into a fervour. Some will discredit Veneer, seeing it as entirely planned and devoid of spontaneity. Yet no matter the creation of each song, it would be hard to argue that songs such as Lovestain and Deadweight On Velveteen could be categorised as anything less than beautiful.

It is easy to deduce that Veneer is a début album. Gonzalez's potential for the future shows up in spades, and in songs such as Heartbeats he shows his unique ability to craft beauty through precision and simplicity. As good as Veneeris, it still shows room to improve for Gonzalez, who seems only steps away from creating a modern masterpiece. Whilst his song writing and guitar playing precision may be one of his greatest attributes, Gonzalez may only need to put more of himself, his true being into his music. But regardless of what direction he takes in the future, Veneer offers irresistable melodies, rarely matched in modern music.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
samthebassman
February 10th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great Album!!!

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great Album!!!

Mmm yes. You might want to edit your soundoff a bit though, he is Swedish not German. Then it might be worth of 'great.'

For curiosity's sake, why did you neg the review (I'm presuming it was you)? I'm in two minds about it, but I'd like to hear your view.

descendents1
February 10th 2007



702 Comments


very well written! fun to read and now worth checking out for me

Sepstrup
February 10th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The review was very good, but this album has never really grabbed me. Heartbeats is a work of a genius, but I just can't get into this album. It's been a while since I last listened to it though, so I should probably give it another go.This Message Edited On 02.10.07

Abaddon2005
February 10th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fantastic review, you really captured a lot in it for such a short format. I'm gonna check this out, seems interesting.

The Jungler
February 10th 2007



4827 Comments


Yeah, real great review, one of the better short reviews I've read recently. This guy sounds pretty cool, maybe I'll check him out.

Zebra
Moderator
February 10th 2007



2647 Comments


The introduction really got me interested. I like this new review style you've got going on Liberi.

Hatshepsut
February 10th 2007



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

tr00 dat. this is one hell of an album.
Great review.

Zmev
February 10th 2007



983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album and review.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The introduction really got me interested. I like this new review style you've got going on Liberi.

I'm just following the trend.

Sepstrup
February 10th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well you've convinced me to give this another spin or two. Reactions will follow.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Give Hints a whirl first, its easy to get into.

RuNNing/on/HiGh
February 11th 2007



56 Comments


I have to admit, he didnt exactly jump out to me at first, but after reading the review and these other comments, im def. gona check this out

trustxdialect
February 11th 2007



1502 Comments


lol @ neg

People need to realize that ratings have nothing to do with rating the review.

And I kind of want this.This Message Edited On 02.11.07

mx
Moderator
February 11th 2007



733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I loved this at first...but it just got old

La Revolucion
February 11th 2007



1060 Comments


Great album. Gets a little tedious if I listen to it all the way through, though.

AtavanHalen
March 10th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Brilliant album, brilliant musician. Just awesome.

AtavanHalen
March 10th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, and the review was fantastic!

Sepstrup
March 17th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm still not convinced. I can see his songwriting and guitar playing talents, but I don't really like the music he produces that much. I usually like this type of music too. Oh well.

PanasonicYouth
June 7th 2010



7411 Comments


he wrote a song for red dead redemption and it was awesome need to get this asap



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