José González's most endearing qualities are difficult to pin down. The Swedish singer/songwriter born to Argentine parents isn't the most striking vocalist, and his classical guitar plucking is only serviceable. He's more Garfunkel than Simon. But González's charms are understated, and his laboured-over follow-up to 2005's Veneer gets under your skin without warning.
His calm, relaxed voice glides along with Nick Drake ease over mid-tempo strums on the hypnotic title track, and he follows that up with a victorious version of Massive Attack's haunting rocktronica classic Teardrop.
Commendably, the covers end there. González plaintively asks questions on How Low, one of several songs where he makes his anti-war politics known. This is a sparse, minimal and unassuming record that's unlikely to hit anyone over the head with its innovation, but González accomplishes much while sounding like he's doing very little.
In Our Nature José González drops by the Mod Club December 7.