Monterey by The Milk Carton Kids

Perfect harmonies, brilliant guitar playing. That’s The Milk Carton Kids, the folk duo Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. Often compared to Simon and Garfunkel and, if you go back that far, The Everly Brothers, this group draws deeply from traditional folk, country, bluegrass, and early rock ‘n’ roll.

Along with the dark irony reflected in the group’s name—a reference to milk cartons with pictures of missing children—the songs onthis album dwell on a very contemporary sense of being lost and lonely: “and I long to hear the melodies/that one time played inside my mind/and to love another helplessly/so breathing feels like putting out a fire.” But within such melancholy, the duo’s bright voices and virtuoso instrumental lines suggest that hope and beauty can still be found.

If you have the chance to hear the group live, do not hesitate! (Anti)

About the Author

Otto Selles teaches French at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and attends Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.