Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

Stay in the Shade EP

Hidden Agenda

When did folk covers of electro-pop hits become the norm? Starting with Iron & Wine’s version of Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” the movement has been carried by Swedish troubadour Jose Gonzalez, with his interpretation of Knife’s “Heartbeats” on his debut album and now Kylie Minogue’s “Hand On Your Heart” on his follow-up EP.

Though billed as featuring a redux version of the previously released track “Stay in the Shade,” the song’s extended intro is only of minor interest. The same can be said of the slight, but pretty six-minute instrumental that closes the disc. The meat here is found in the three central tracks: “Down the Hillside,” “Sensing Owls” and the aforementioned Kylie-cover. These songs feature more instrumentation than the austere single acoustic guitar that typified his debut, but these additions come in the form of communal percussion. None of the breezy simplicity and warm emotion is sacrificed in the process, however. If anything, it’s the sound of a songwriter finding confidence through slow, but steady growth. It’s a great stop-gap until Gonzalez’s sophomore release, which can’t come soon enough.

Hidden Agenda:

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