A deep, artful thinker whose singular approach to songwriting and sonics sets him worlds apart, José González is in a class by himself. He has a voice. He has a sound. He has a point of view. His new album, Vestiges & Claws—musically gorgeous, strikingly profound in lyric— has a unique and quietly visceral power that is as an outstanding addition to an impressive body of work. Produced by González in his home as well as Svenska Grammofonstudion, both in Gothenburg, Sweden, it consists of years’ worth of musical sketches that in other hands might naturally sprawl wildly in sound and style, but on Vestiges & Claws González has created a collection of songs that cohere just about perfectly, ensuring his position as one of the most important artists of his generation. One can find traces of inspired protest songs and eccentric folk rock, staccato grooves and rhythms, frustration and optimism. It’s a collection that is simultaneously confident, free, and uncertain. This is the first album where González has chosen to include exclusively original material, largely revolving around ideas of civilization, humanism, and solidarity.