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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple acoustic melodies with echos of early folk
Being a lover of simple acoustic guitar music in general, particularly fingerpicking styles, I tend to jump on just about anything which has that basic sound to it. So after hearing just one song by Jose (Hearbeats) and loving the beautiful melodies, I grabbed hold of a copy of the album.

Amazon describes these pieces as 'indie pop bedroom songs', which I think...
Published on 17 May 2006 by Nazboy

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Listenable,but not what many would have you believe
I'm about tired of the comparisons with Nick Drake. Gonzalez is no Drake; the only similarities that can be drawn (and they're tenuous ones) lie in certain of the cyclical guitar figures. That aside, the songs and the singing don't really compare. Gonzalez' songs sound like variations on a theme -a looped-up motif from say, one or two of Drake's songs- and listened to 3...
Published on 26 Jun 2006 by Orryl Oak


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple acoustic melodies with echos of early folk, 17 May 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Being a lover of simple acoustic guitar music in general, particularly fingerpicking styles, I tend to jump on just about anything which has that basic sound to it. So after hearing just one song by Jose (Hearbeats) and loving the beautiful melodies, I grabbed hold of a copy of the album.

Amazon describes these pieces as 'indie pop bedroom songs', which I think is slightly misleading so don't be put off by that. If you love acoustic fingerpicking with rhythmic patterns that create feeling and mood then you will surely enjoy this. Stylistically there are tones of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen ringing out in Jose's playing. The most recent album I could probably compare it to is Sun Kil Moon's 'Ghosts of the Great Highway'.

This is not Simon and Garfunkel repackaged as other reviewers have said, just because some artist's music is similair in style does not make it an immitation, or any less enjoyable. S&G did not invent this sound and in my opinion they are not the pioneers of it either (Scarborough Fair was copied from a traditional english folk song for a start). Also to say that it is dreary and monotone is very harsh, yes the style of the artist's delivery can be melancholy, but so was nick drakes and his legendary status is in part a testament to that.

Artists like Jose are keeping the acoustic scene rolling along, and that can only be a good thing in my opinion.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing Bliss, 14 Dec 2005
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Having an eclectic taste in music ranging from Dylan to Cypress Hill through Madonna and Eminem, I must admit in buying the album solely on the strength of Heartbeats on the Sony TV advert. What a great decision. Proving that to make great music you don't need image consultants, hair stylists, 11 layers of vocals and Pharrel Williams, Jose provides the album of the year (alongside the debut efforts of Arcade Fire and Bloc Party) with simply a guitar and his haunting yet pure voice.
Without a weak link in the chain of songs, this relaxing, thoughtful treat for the ears takes the guitar skill of John Williams, the song writing of early Dylan, but removes all hardline edges. His introspective lyrics marries a wonderfully honest singing style to create a beautiful, soulful sound that boy band ballad "singers" can only dream of.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing, 25 Feb 2006
By 
Dr. J. Hilton (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
I was a little unsure when buying this - I hadn't heard much and thought I might be chucking my money down the drain.
It arrived and I listened to it, and it's actually brilliant. I dcan just sit there doing nothing but listen to this music for hours.
5* doesn't even start to sum up this album
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul-Simon-meets-James-Taylor excellence., 14 Jan 2006
By 
Mackabo (Belfast, Antrim United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
I like many others came across Jose Gonzalez from hearing "heartbeats" on the award winning Sony Tv advert. I bought Veneer predicting that I was being swept along by an incredible piece of artistic television magic and that I would be disappointed by the rest of the album.
If you feel like this and are in doubt let me reassure you this album is special. If you like guitar and beautiful singing or just appreciate soulful original music then do yourself a favour and buy it, listen to it then listen to it again. When you are finished listen to it again. Its that good.
I fear that people will soon do a James Blunt and buy veneer to keep their music collection trendy without truly appreciating how moving songs such as "lovestain" and "deadweight on velveteen" really are. Shame.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best swedish export since saunas, 12 July 2005
By 
C. J. Statham - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
'Veneer' is an evocative distilation of all that is right and true about acoustic music. Whats more, is that this album (with any luck) may just surprise regular fans of the electroncially orientated 'Peacefrog'label as it did me...
Swedish-Argentinian, Jose Gonzalez is a wonderfully skilled musician who manages to sing with the endeering tones that make him sound as though he's coming out of your dads old hi-fi from some rare 1960's vinyl. Track 5, 'Crosses', is the stand out track being folky, stoned out and gently hinting at simon and Garfunkel twangs. What a blend. Consistent, charming and uplifitng.... Wish it was longer! 5 STARS!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 28 April 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
If you have spent any of your last year listening to anything by Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine or Micah P. Hinson (or even Damien Rice I would imagine) this is your next fix. Simple acoustic guitars and a sublime voice build to an incredible effect for the entire album. The reviews on the cover from the Guardian and The Sunday Times, who adore it equally, do not do it justice. Highlights are probably the beautiful "Crosses" which will no doubt soundtrack some OC heartache, and "Heartbeats" which is a cover of an electronic tune by Swedish band The Knife. You do not understand how much you need this in your life. Buy it now.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Further From Veneer, 3 Jun 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 low 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality, not quantity?, 1 Mar 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
I first heard Jose Gonzalez on Radio 1 and went looking for this album straight away. This guy can sing and play guitar like no one else I've heard before. Real mood music that sends chills up and down my spine whenever I listen to it. I have only one complaint, the album lasts less than 31 minutes, and at that length its more of an ep than album.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a master piece of chilled accoustic music, 16 April 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
this album reflects the glowing talent of jose gonzalez. it is musical, showing off his voice and gutair talents. It is often compared to nick drake, another fine accoustic player. Its a great album to chill out to after a hard days work. Crosses is in my opinion the highlight of the CD. It is powerful and catchy. also heartbeats is closely behind and this song is when i first heard jose gonzalez on the Sony advert. Overall a magical debut album and i await with much anticipation for the follow up. To have Veneer and nick drakes 'treasury' would be perfect partners.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 9 April 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Gonzalez has often been likened to the late, great Nick Drake and it's not hard to see why. His soft, sometimes expressionless vocals and wonderful talent on the guitar mean that Gonzalez will find it hard to escape the comparisons with Drake. But lets not sell Gonzalez short, Veneer is one of the best albums I've heard in the past few years and we can't start comparing everyone who picks up an acoustic guitar to Nick Drake. Some of the songs on display here are near perfection and its a shame that it took a television advert for him to make his name in Britain. True, "Heartbeats" is one of the standout tracks, but a man of his undoubted talent deserves better.
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