I don't know why you haven't already heard of James Birchall or his alter ego Rough Fields. Hell, I'm not sure why I hadn't heard of them before the usual press release game of hide and seek. Because if The Harbour Wall is anything to go by he makes beautiful music poised to swallow you up.
The opening title track of this EP feels wonderfully brooding. It is simultaneously full of down beat confidence and defiance, the layered vocals may be soft and delicate but the harmonies and melody and bass and piano propel this song with a verve and self-assurance. Elsewhere, on 'Behave', there is whimsy and helplessness - Birchall's vocal asserting his uselessness at exhibiting self-restraint in the absence of his loved one.
This is a release of atmosphere - background noises and shuffles appear throughout but are most evident on the running water, wind and rain of the haunting instrumental 'Waller's Cut'. Birchall spent some time experimenting with techno and it shows in this EP's ticks and spasms. As a result it feels like we were there in the head of Rough Fields - there in the moments of loneliness from where some of these songs obviously sprang.
Rough Fields has blended folk and post-rock to make an EP of both texture and melody. And at 22 minutes The Harbour Wall is over far too soon.
Head over to the Rough Fields website for more information and to buy The Harbour Wall, or use the Soundcloud player above.