Keep the Ocean Inside

An anticipated follow-up is never easy. After a sweet debut in 2010, Pittsburgh-based Maureen Boyle, aka The Seven Fields of Aphelion, took a step back, but she didn’t drop off the map. Boyle joined the touring troupes of TOBACCO and Black Moth Super Rainbow and tinkered with other creative endeavors. Now she’s back with Keep the Ocean Inside, which is just as dreamy as listeners might’ve hoped. With ambient landscapes that feel like slow blooms or wild, wide Southwestern sunsets, Boyle’s transitions take the smallest, most intentional steps. The moments in which she steps up the soprano tones, as on “Drift (Losing Light),” have a sweet, ethereal feel akin to fellow sound-maker Julianna Barwick. The album’s inspiration stems from being lost within the abyss before rising up from deep waters, and that is felt in the album’s loose structure and gradual shifts. Not bad, and worth the wait.