Jose González, who came to renown for a muted cover of fellow Swedish act the Knife’s “Heartbeats,” has, like them, spent the years since reacting against that hit. After slipping off into bleakness and haunting textures of 2007′s sophomore solo outing In Our Nature, he returned to pre-fame band Junip for his next album, 2010′s Fields, which expertly spiked González’s airy acoustic melancholy with spacey synths and free-flowing drums.
The follow-up shakes off its own shackles by instead withdrawing even further into Junip’s comfortable cocoon. Throughout, Junip is unassumingly elegant, particularly on bleary-eyed dancefloor pick-me-up “Your Life Your Call,” jagged psych excursion “Villain” and tranquil epiphany “After All Is Said and Done.” Over African-style rhythms, “Baton” finds a way to make even whistling sound subtle. As suggested in the lyrics of patiently propulsive first single “Line of Fire,” sometimes it’s best to beat a graceful retreat. There’s more than one way to deconstruct the mechanisms of consumer culture.