January 18, 2006

José González "Stay in the Shade"

José González had a pretty good year last year. His debut album was finally released in the United States, and the critical acclaim it received has helped propel the young singer-songwriter to new heights of recognition; two of his songs have appeared on The OC, and as of this writing, he has signed to Mute for his next album. Stay in the Shade was his second single from Veneer, and it’s a lovely extension of that album’s strong points.

Though the album had a tendency to be a bit non-descript, the brevity of Stay In The Shade ensures that there’s no monotony. For the most part, the five songs found here are beautiful, engaging folk numbers; the Nick Drake and Elliott Smith comparisons are still valid, especially on the title track; but unlike the debut, these elements aren’t quite as heavy as they were there. His style is breezy, jazz-like; it’s hard not to think of vintage Everything But The Girl, especially on “Down The Hillside” and “Sensing Owls.” His cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Hand On Your Heart,” much like his other pop covers, draws the listener into a world that might have been missed. The last number, a long instrumental entitled “Instr.” is the only weak number, not because it’s a bad song, but because it’s different from the breezy pop from before, and it’s slightly monotonous.

Stay in the Shade is a wonderful appetizer for those who are hungry for more, and it’s a good little introduction to José González. May 2006 be a bigger year for this young man!
--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.jose-gonzalez.com
Label Website: http://www.parasol.com

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