A Sense of Place

Clearly, José González can daydream with the best of them. On Vestiges & Claws (Mute), his first solo album in seven years, the gentle Swedish singer-songwriter and Junip frontman journeys through snow-speckled landscapes and dimly lit caves, pondering their majesty in a husky folk whisper atop warmly strummed acoustic guitars. The whimsical yet ultimately poignant tone echoes his lovely pop soundtrack work on Ben Stiller’s 2013 adventure epic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, while folding in elements of pastoral 1970s British and Brazilian folk. As he evaluates his place among such beauty, crooning, “What makes up you and I / What it takes to thrive / What we need to survive / How we flourish and die” (“Leaf Off/The Cave”), González sounds more than ever where he belongs.