First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7
Written by John Metzger
In naming his debut Veneer, Jose Gonzalez seems to suggest that his work contains a certain superficiality that is designed to mask a less desirable substratum, and in effect, he couldn’t have chosen a better title to grace the set. Save for the final track Broken Arrows, which is adorned with the mournful cry of a trumpet, his 11 somber meditations are delivered with nothing more than the seductive sounds of his gently picked acoustic guitar, hushed vocals, and an occasional wisp of percussion. Inside the intoxicating circularity of the rhythms, however, lies an ominous air, and what at first appears to be bathed in warm intimacy, soon reveals itself to be disturbingly distanced. Crossing the pastoral melancholia of Nick Drake with the urban folk of Paul Simon, Gonzalez essentially weaves together an impressionistic tale that is haunted by death. The cold-blooded calculation of Slow Moves and Hiding gives way to the murderous Lovestain, while the remainder of Veneer follows the killer as he moves through the shadows in an attempt to dispose of the body and lift the burden that had been weighing upon him. Whether taken literally or as a metaphor for a love affair that has withered, Veneer is elegantly disquieting in how it calls out for help without raising its voice much above a whisper. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box