Jose Gonzalez, the Swedish singer-songwriter who broke through in the mid-2000s with his gently wonderful acoustic indie folk, has announced the release of his first new album in over five years.
The LP, Local Valley, will be Gonzalez’s first since 2015’s Vestiges and Claws. That time away his given the artist the opportunity to reflect on the state of humanity and where we are going as a species.
“We are the apes that are starting to understand the universe and our place in it,” González explained in a statement. “We are changing our surroundings in an exceedingly rapid pace, so much that we’re becoming stewards of our planet whether we like it or not. As Stewart Brand said: ‘We are as gods and we have to get good at it.’”
The pastoral nature of the song is right at home with Gonzalez’s “just a guy with a guitar” persona, as he sings of the unity of man and shared experiences that create a “mosaic of fates”. It would be easy to guffaw at the hippy-dippy sincerity of Gonzalez’s lyrics, talking about cycles of pain and how we as a human race are patiently inching our way to utopia, but it’s hard not to buy in with Gonzalez’s beautiful voice and delicate earnestness.
“The lyrics came to me in early February 2020 just as there were more and more tweets about the possible pandemic,” he added. “The topic of the song felt very timely. You can hear the birds and ambient sounds from the veranda, along with a layer of synth loops in the background.”
“Look at the magic of reality/While accepting with all honesty/That we can’t know for sure what’s next”. Fortune cookie wisdom, yoga mantra, or genuine attempt to connect with the human condition? You decide.
Check out ‘Visions’ down below. Local Valley will be released on September 17th.