Stratford’s own folk troubadour Jay Rodger has not long released his beautifully haunting, and hauntingly beautiful, debut EP.
‘Bunker’ is a 15-minute barge ride across a tranquil soundscape that invites you into the comforting intimacy of Rodger’s soul, where he showcases his fine poetic talents and vocal harmonies reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel. But in spite of this resemblance this is an EP that is very modern in it’s sound.
In a time when over-production of music is so widespread, it’s refreshing that Rodger has taken a less-is-more approach to the EP. The instrumentation is minimalistic, often just a single acoustic guitar with trace amounts of piano, and the vocals are the centrepiece of the tracks. The vocals themselves are the only thing that show any evidence of a production process: layers of harmonies, most notable on the ghostly cascade of ‘Interlude’, and subtle amounts of echo add a spacious resonance to every word that passes his lips.
And still the tracks themselves sound natural, which is really all we ask from folk musicians. This sense that the musician is speaking directly to you is a staple of folk, and Rodger does this well. As he gently recites poetry in his relaxed voice, it’s impossible to ignore the feeling that he is delivering the words in a whisper straight into your ear.
And this is the beauty of ‘Bunker’. It is a well-executed debut from an artist who has spent years honing his craft and getting comfortable with his own sound – a sound that he wants you to find comfort in too.
The EP is available to purchase on Jay Rodger’s Bandcamp page, either as a pay-what-you-want download or as a limited edition physical release.