González can boast a truly singular achievementent in the world of contemporary popular music. He is without question both universally recognized and yet utterly nameless. I make that claim based on the fact that multitudes upon multitudes have by now seen the Sony Bravia commercial showcasing the majestic descent of countless, multi-coloured bouncy balls through the banal confines of a random urban landscape. Having glimpsed such a glorious video production, you would also have witnessed the subtly evocative nature of another landscape, the one produced by the vocals and guitar work of José González' "Heartbeats."
If like me, you were left mesmerized by the at once joyous yet yearning quality of the experience, then you must search on for more. To their credit, Sony represented well their balladeer in the way they masterfully wed their footage with his music, for the balance of pensive and blissful evocations within the video can be found again and again in González' debut album- Veneer and the companion EP - Stay in the Shade.
Along with the remarkable opportunity to be featured in the Sony commercial, González has something else few can claim these days... a unique sound. His rare blend of somber vocal arrangements and complex, Latin-influenced guitar voicings - coupled with the sparse production of the albums, allow for a very fresh reconstruction of the singer/songwriter genre. With such an original strategy, most commentators have to reach back nearly thirty years to find an appropriate comparison in Nick Drake's Pink Moon.
While the extraordinarily reworked covers - Kylie Minogue's "Hand on Your Heart" and the Knife's "Heartbeats," constitute his most powerful tracks, it seems González has all the talent he needs to find a faithful audience, but time will tell if he can gather the experience and mature craftsmanship to keep it. The initial glimmers of his promise definitely shine through on tracks like "Save Your Day," "Lovestain," and "Crosses." If your interest is sufficiently piqued, check out the following links to discover more about the quiet Swede with the nylon string guitar.
"Hand on Your Heart" Video (Amazing!)
one more time... "Heartbeats" Video