Jose Gonzalez: Vestiges & Claws

Swedish folkie unfurls his gentle beauty, very slowly

Credit: Guitarist Magazine/Getty

Swedish singer-songwriter José González's new album — which is just the third LP from the 36-year-old artist, in a 12-year solo career — sticks to the formula that has served him well in the past. Intricate fingerpicking backs up his soft vocals; melodies flow without urgency; vague but evocative lyrics drift to the surface. González's lyrics focus on aging and the inevitability of loss. "All of this will be gone someday," goes the refrain on the yearning "Afterglow." The album's best track, the fragile meditation "Open Book," is its last — which makes perfect sense coming from someone whose subtle, carefully crafted music delivers rewards to listeners who know how to wait.