This California duo have cut a distinctive path through the Americana forest with their wistful close harmony singing and flat-picking guitars. Often reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, they also share kinship with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, though they lack the latter’s stringency, especially on a fourth album that is minimalist to a fault. Recorded live in venues and churches before their audience arrived, Monterey has an intimate, forlorn beauty, but too many of its songs slip past in a gentle blur. The yearning Secrets of the Stars, the bluegrass-tinged City of Our Lady and the anti-militarist High Hopes are exceptions. Classy nonetheless.
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer