JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ: In Our Nature [Mute]

For all the Nick Drake comparisons garnered by José González’s 2003 debut Veneer, it’s the work of another José—Feliciano—that’s a more accurate touchstone for In Our Nature. To put a finer point on it, much of the album imagines Elliott Smith and Mark Kozelek performing Feliciano’s theme to Chico And The Man. Four years’ worth of writing but little more than two weeks in the studio is what was required for González to create his sophomore album. The result is a 10-track throwback to the ’60s, when a Bob Dylan LP could clock in at half an hour and still leave his audience satisfied that they’d taken the best shot he had to offer. Like Feliciano, González is a romantic at heart, given to an array of lyrical possibilities even as his music ripples with the taut simplicity of someone strumming alone in his bedroom. “Killing For Love” echoes Feliciano’s candlelight take on “Light My Fire,” and “The Nest” threads its autumnal tale through a tangled curtain of fingerpicked guitars. As on Veneer, González throws in a killer cover for good measure (this time it’s Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”) and a spinning, circular closer (“Cycling Triviali-ties”) guaranteed to get ’em bursting through the turnstiles when his next album is ready. []

—Corey duBrowa