by Ryan Doyle Elward
A companion through doubt, a remedy for concern. Vestiges & Claws serves as wise council, and the words of Jose Gonzalez prove useful currency to accept change and ultimately embrace uncertainty. “Let it Carry You” pokes politely at the anchors tethered to all, questioning their willingness to stay in any negative place. Heard in lyrics, “to remind all restless souls, of the beauty of being here at all” a kindly reminder to seize each opportunity in full, aware of the sheer magnificence that it has presented itself in any capacity.
Essentially an album parallel to that of the previous two, Vestiges & Claws emerges echoing past acoustic minimalism, again under shade of soft vocals, and set in similar technical form as both previous full length releases In Our Nature and preceding album Veneer. Reverberant, organic tonal warmth remain staples, and a third time reinvigorating that woody thickness in familiar flurried picking and plucking pattern signature to Jose Gonzalez.
Contrastingly so, this album differs in that it shows greater relationship to an entirely separate Jose Gonzalez project, Junip, with a grooving, livelier pace and overall increased sonic energy. Though anyway it seems what separates these three efforts are not major discrepancies at all, and in fact making minor alterations to the template have been a point of success thus far. Noting this is truly more of an acknowledgement of strength than should be deserving the title of simple, as these mechanisms allow for other levels of connection to be emphasized through consistency of the vessel itself, and mode of delivery. Now at the forefront, directly in view, all effort to convey ideas stands without competition. Clearly highlighting the true intent of the music itself as a beautiful backdrop for a message of meaning. Where the true keys of power and significance are discernable and within grasp, and content delivered upon flawlessly yet again.
Vestiges & Claws’ unique and individual stature stands singularly evident in measure of depth and character of content, and illustrates commonality in our struggles wherein unacknowledged potential exists in a future he hopes we all stride toward with optimism, urging us to seek purpose in our shared identities. ‘Let the light lead you out… see all tracks lead you out from the dark’, he coaxes, offering the reins. Arguing against a passive, inactive approach to living, and stoking a burning appreciation for beauty represented through gratitude for life.