I’ve lost count of the bands that have downgraded the American genre to the level of festival mediocrity but, fortunately, Laura Monk and High Cotton aren’t one of them. Of course it helps that they are from Atlanta rather than the downtown plains of Canada but the key thing here is the feel. Laura Monk and High Cotton sound like they love what they do.
There’s an elemental playfulness to their performances whether live or studio captured – both feature on their album “So Far” – that suggests an affinity for the making of music that few bands have. “Mexico”, for example, floats above the sand of the beach as if it was the most natural thing in the world. “So Far”, the title track, ploughs the past in a similarly agreeable fashion. It’s the past and yet it never seems stale.
The key element though is Laura Monk’s voice. Never forced and always balanced, she holds it all together like she was destined to do that very thing. “So Far” may well contain few surprises but that is hardly the point. “So Far” is an album that sounds natural and is as comfortable as your favourite armchair. Listen to “Heaven Bound” if you have the time and all will become clear.