Monday, September 6, 2010

The Grey Kingdom - Grey Kingdom

The Grey Kingdom

Grey Kingdom
Dinealone Records.

SCQ Rating: 79%

Attack In Black last updated their website/blog in February of this year, and used the post to detail the steps necessary to bake a tremendous pecan pie. I suppose that’s a colourful way to insist that the band, as a unit, is settled at the moment and quite possibly consuming vast amounts of homemade pastries. But they aren’t whittling away the hours now, are they? Having established You’ve Changed Records over a year ago, members of the Welland-based quartet have been filling their time off with individual projects like Daniel Romano’s Workin’ For the Music Man and, now, Spencer Burton’s guise as Grey Kingdom.

Whereas Romano skipped back a few generations for a full-length indebted to classic folk and country, Burton feeds The Grey Kingdom with contemporary atmospheres that interact well with his acoustic yearnings. At its barest, the patient guitar pushing ‘Love Is Fast (The Tragedy of Kait Hagarty)’ meets Burton’s layered vocals, a force in and of itself, but with the subtle aid of echo and gentle chimes, the song’s intimacy resonates as if performed within a canyon. Uplifting and serene, ‘Paintbrush Soul’ also carries the winter-still confliction that moves beneath the linens of this EP’s four songs, otherwise presented naked on ‘I’ll Say Nothing But Goodbye’. The Grey Kingdom’s gentle ambience never overpowers Burton’s compositions, instead providing rich textures that emphasize each note and lyric. Even on ‘Haunted’, where ethereal drones swell up next to Burton’s vocal harmonies, the song’s core lies in the silence between verses.

Grey Kingdom will certainly summon up comparisons to other Canadian Zen-folk songwriters like Evening Hymns or Great Lake Swimmers, but these songs belong isolated unto themselves. In their own headspace, if that makes sense. Although it'll leave you wanting much more, The Grey Kingdom is both contemporary and timeless.

No comments: