There are oceans. Masses of water surrounded by the brimming wilderness, towered over by bustling cities, once kingdoms, powerfully etched by every bit of manmade influence. They’re built up, torn down, arranged and rearranged, and yet there are still oceans in between.
Much like a pulse, be it a whimper or roar, they shift, swell, and at times remain stagnant. We overlook it. As an ocean or subconsciously within, we forget about those shifts and swells, every bit of love and loss that sinks into that heaping grey mass. And yet that grey remains palpably tucked away, perhaps in limbo, but entirely reachable – aching to be tapped into.
Consider the tales of Spencer Burton, who feels, writes, and sings under the moniker of Grey Kingdom. Born in Hamilton, ON, raised miles away in Kelowna, BC with a hankering for travel, eating pie, and hunting for edible mushrooms, Burton’s upbringings are as sincere as his demeanor.
Teenage years of strumming in the Welland, ON music scene would blossom his twenty-somethings into constant road mileage playing in the critically lauded Attack In Black. Cities upon cities, always moving, writing, performing, Burton’s experiences were absorbed along the way. Sometimes shrewd, often reflective, his occurrences had callused into their own mass.
Grey Kingdom is the release of it all. Unabridged and heartfelt as ever, Burton found himself using this project as a medium for storytelling – a guiding light to his innermost sincerities.
His debut album, Eulogy Of Her And Her And Her (Dine Alone Records), candidly reads as a memoir on its own. There’s brooding tales of romance, travel and loss – each texturally stripped down to a voice and a handful of instruments, while lyrically resonating with Burton’s affection for human interactions.
It’s that inner grey area that weaves Burton’s stories into a whole, and he’s quick to anchor his opening line towards it: “Hey nice body of water, let me back in, where I can swim.” The rest unravels in raw emotion, as he recalls those experiences built up, torn down, arranged and rearranged; while always circling back to the same prelude.
Along with a sophomore LP slotted for 2012, Grey Kingdom’s latest series of four digital 7”’s hauntingly delves further into Burton’s meditations. With his voice centre stage, the first single, featuring “All The Shapeless Form” and “Steady Hands” dabbles in sparsely echoed arrangements. The second, featuring “Broken Beds,” and “When The Seasons Drown” remains equally soul-stirring. Each tale’s a reprise, weighted in the somber disposition of a man and his sensibilities.
Just as Burton absorbs the basic interactions of any daily routine, he continues to wade in his own ocean – sometimes shifting, swelling, but always tapped into those sentiments wedged underneath. And so pours the melody.