Following on from last year’s Wonderland EP, Nottingham producer Kirk Spencer returns with his second cameo-laden, somewhat darker EP Kingdom. As with the debut, it is released on Spencer’s own label, STRANGERZOO, but shows a somewhat darker side to the 24 year-old, and features cameos from the likes of Tiger Lilly, Solomon Grey and Turtle.
The epitome of this quality is perhaps “Primrose”, the fourth and strongest track on the record. Its staccato droplets bounce with the force of the bass that has a trap-style sass. Indeed, the whole EP has elements of trap but isn’t nearly as monotonous as some examples of the genre can be, thanks to its thoughtful blending and variety of soundscapes. The way “Primrose” fades from the dark, ‘dutty’ synths to its idyllic, almost psychedelic outro is genius, and adds a new perspective on the song’s motif of “nobody haunts me like you do”.
“Blue Skys”, featuring the swoons of Tiffani Juno, probably has the most potential for commercial success in today’s musical climate, although it does leave something desired when compared to the other tracks on the release in terms of variety and catchy hooks. The closing track, “And Swim”, sounds like a darker and more urban take on the first Volcano Choir album, and its last half provides the most atmospheric offering of the EP by far; its closing scintillating guitar textures and chord progressions capture light on water faultlessly.