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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Further From Veneer
When it comes to Folk, recent years have been bountiful with great new and original artists. Whether you think of Sam Beam, Polly Paulusma or Devendra Banhart, just to name just a very few great and distinct voices.

Folk is reinventing itself and, as the Kings of Inconvenience's first album announced, "quiet is the new loud." In that vein, "Veneer" -Jose...
Published on September 21, 2005 by Juan Mobili

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars could be a great folk musician but....
frankly not for everyone. Jose Gonzalez explores intimacy in this album through his melodic guitar, but frankly I was not able to dig all the album, perhaps I was not in the mood? or maybe was too folky for me?. Certainly I have read several reviews and it seems that everyone loves José, I wonder if it is an overrated musician?,or it just maybe that I didn't...
Published on January 3, 2011 by Randall


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Further From Veneer, September 21, 2005
By 
Juan Mobili (Valley Cottage, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
When it comes to Folk, recent years have been bountiful with great new and original artists. Whether you think of Sam Beam, Polly Paulusma or Devendra Banhart, just to name just a very few great and distinct voices.

Folk is reinventing itself and, as the Kings of Inconvenience's first album announced, "quiet is the new loud." In that vein, "Veneer" -Jose Gonzalez's debut- should be considered another omen of Folk's unending trove of beauties, and proof that this is someone to keep tabs on.

Jose Gonzalez is a resident Gothenburg, Sweden, the son of Argentinean parents and, as the result of this album, this year's "best new artist" Swedish Grammy winner.

The story goes that his father gave Jose two books of guitar tunes -one of Beatles' songs and the other Bossa Nova- after which point he picked up the instrument, studied Flamenco and Classical guitar, developed an interest on Joao Gilberto and Joy Division, and started to compose his own material.

Speaking of his songs, the comparisons already abound, some are too generic -are we going to associate anyone who picks up an acoustic guitar and sings in a hushed voice with Nick Drake?- while other may misguide you. For instance, there's indeed a touch of early Paul Simon, parallels to Iron & Wine and even a hint of Mark Kozelek, in Gonzalez' style.

Still, when it comes to influences, I find stronger forces shaping his sound. Namely, the spirit of Joao Gilberto's intimate gems and the apparent inheritance of Argentinean melancholia ... all good things, of course, but not telling the full story about this guy.

Gonzalez is more than a faithful copyist. What he's done is embodied his influences deeply, and brought a very personal tone to these -all self-penned- songs. His voice and his remarkable guitar playing manage to conjure up quite distinct moods, from song to song, although the instrumentation never grows beyond the sound of the man and his brilliant guitar, with the exception of some moving trumpet work on the gorgeous "Broken Arrows."

In terms of the songs themselves, there's plenty to appreciate and be swept by, from the subtle bossa nova of "Remain" to the more edgy "Lovestain" or the tender harmonies -all voices courtesy of Gonzalez himself- of "Heartbeats."

As great the preceding songs are, to me, the gold lies in "Crosses," "Deadweight In Velveteen," "Broken Arrows" and -my personal favorite- "Stay In The Shade." In each of these songs, Gonzalez' guitar excels, and his voice seems the only other sound that could be appropriate to elevate their magic.

In Europe, they have already realized the gift this album is, hopefully there will be a similar reaction in the States, that could lead to a domestic edition, and eliminate the high-price barriers of import costs.

All in all, this is one the most remarkable recordings I heard this year, whether you are thinking of new artists or new shades of Folk, and whatever you end up paying for it will not be reason for disappointment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, June 5, 2006
By 
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Like many, I first became aware of Jose Gonzalez through one of his songs, "Heartbeats" being used to advertise a new electronic product on TV. The scene in the ad was typical California: San Francisco, a warm sunny day, and with loads of different beautiful colours dancing across the screen. The song captured the scene magnificently, and apparently, the advertising was telling us that this was the beauty of colour that would get with one of these TVs.

The interesting thing is that the lyrics of the song, ("To call for hands of above, to lean on. Wouldn't be good enough for me") have absoultely nothing to do with either bright summer days or fancy new electronic gadgets but somehow it just works. The sheer warmth of his voice (drenched in - to these ears - latin/Brazilian influence) and the magic of his guitar playing, just makes it work. In fact, it wouldn't really matter what language he was singing in. Even if it was Martian, I'd still love it.

The other interesting thing, at least for me, is that although I've always loved acoustic guitar, I would never have thought that an entire album of songs with just guitar and voice would be sustainable. There is a brief trumpet solo at the end of "Broken Arrows", the last song on the CD but apart from that, it's as pure as the driven snow. It works on that level too.

Even his lyricism has a certain purity. Take the song "Lovestain" for instance: "You left a lovestain on my heart, And you left a bloodstain on the ground. But blood comes off easily". Now anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of crime scene investigation will know that blood is a demon to get off of any surface and therein lies the power of the lyric. The pain of love lost might eventually become bearable but it never really goes away? Not only that - those three short sentences are the entire song. And again, it works!

A beautiful collection of heart-wrenching and soul-stirring songs. Pure artistry at its best.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tranquil Voice, Stimulating Music, September 24, 2006
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This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Jose Gonzalez is a class act. One of his greatest talents is his gift in combining a beautiful, tranquil voice with stimulating, rousing instrumentation. 'Veneer' reflects this perfect combination track after track, and brings the acoustic genre to a new level. It is the perfect soundtrack for buffering this crazy world we live in today. I was introduced to Jose via his work on the latest Zero 7 album. His tracks on that cd bring depth and substance. Likewise, 'Veneer' recharges the mind while soothing the soul...as in my favorite lyric: "Cast some light and you'll be alright".

I have seen Jose perform live twice and even had the opportunity to chat with him briefly. Watching him live is a treat. He becomes one with his guitar, as if he were born playing it. Jose Gonzalez is a rare talent, a humble performer, and a genuinely good guy. Get to know him...get 'Veneer'.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acoustic Bliss, January 12, 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
A wonderful collection of intimate, personal, warm, gloomy and brilliantly crafted songs.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2005: Brilliant folk from a Swedish-born Argentinian, January 11, 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
2005 continued to be a great year for folk. Sufjan Stevens released the best album in the genre and his best so far, and Swedish-born Argentinian, Jose Gonzalez, put out this fantastic record. "Veneer" will make you think of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, no matter how hard you avoid it. But it's not forced or engineerd. It's natural. It's organic. And the result is brilliant. The album is simple, yet it gets to you in many ways. All the songs are the man and his guitar, with a voice so mellow that you won't have much to do against it.

Without a doubt, one of the best in 2005, and one of the best discoveries in recent times.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Jeff Buckley meets Jack Johnson, July 20, 2006
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This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
I love this album. If any of you out there found Jack Johnson technically naive, and Jeff Buckley over-exploiting his musical talents, this is the golden mean. Acousitcally stunning, vocally haunting, Jose Gonzalez is an upcoming first rate artist....

Excellent

Alfa
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oustanding, December 29, 2005
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
by far and away one of my favorite releases of the year. this album deserves more attention than it's getting although I'm hearing more and more about him. his cover of the knife's "heartbeats" is brilliant.

this album is incredible---like a better version of the kings of convenience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy, Emotive, Mellow Magic From Sweden, October 19, 2005
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Don't let the name fool you; José was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, but has a deep Latin heritage that influences his acoustic guitar stylings. The album Veneer and the other B-sides available in Sweden show a mature talent who displays a canny sense of delicate mood and sparse arrangement. His understated, low-key, dreamy vocals show a definite influence from Nick Drake and even a touch of David Gates. Sometimes he even sounds like a mellow José Feliciano. This is the perfect album for a candle-lit dinner on a rainy fall evening, with someone you enjoy the company of. Shame it is only a half-hour long; I have added 5 excellent B-sides to mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the escalator, June 28, 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
the escalator and the man stand at the bottom summed up the album even before i had the pleasure of listening to such beauty and intelligence in my entire life time of listening to folk rock music this has affected me the most i can't tell how much..

i know it's an clinche but.it left me speechless i didn't know whether to cry jump up and down with merriment of..just sit quietly and seep in the beauty i had just been laid next too me.

all them emotions from a voice guitar and a trumpet at the end of broken arrows

how do you say can that happen? because this guy has talent.

to transmit an beauty and vibrance over to the listeners ears

in my mind you have to be in tune with yourself to fully appreciate the album.

we all have these emotions in us to appreciate this album

on another level and i have and i won't be turning back it changed my life this afternoon.. the escalator only goes up..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different, March 9, 2006
By 
Enid Blyton (Santa Cruz, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
This artist has a style of his own - just him and his guitar with a latino rhythm. Very easy listening - perfect for a romantic evening or to enjoy while soaking in the tub.
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Veneer
Veneer by José González (Audio CD - 2005)
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