10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second album by Toronto native Cold Specks (Al Spx) is confirmation of the singer’s mighty power. Neuroplasticity shows the artist expanding her take on gospel and blues, and it also proves that her own “doom soul” label is more than accurate. Tracks like the bleating, marching “A Broken Memory” and the creeping “A Quiet Chill” do indeed simmer with a damnation-and-brimstone kind of desperation, and tunes like the elegiac “A Season of Doubt”—with its funereal piano and jazzy trumpet—feel like the final steps in a procession we all want to avoid. “Absisto”—the centerpiece track—is a spooky and bewitching number that boils down the essence of blues and soul into an elixir of hissing cymbals, vocal chants, and ‘60s-era droplets of trippy keyboards. Another highlight, “Bodies at Bay,” veers toward uplift, with pretty, propulsive guitars and snares moving at a nice clip when the reins are loosened. Swans’ Michael Gira lends his own brand of beautiful gloom to “Exit Plan” and “A Season of Doubt.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second album by Toronto native Cold Specks (Al Spx) is confirmation of the singer’s mighty power. Neuroplasticity shows the artist expanding her take on gospel and blues, and it also proves that her own “doom soul” label is more than accurate. Tracks like the bleating, marching “A Broken Memory” and the creeping “A Quiet Chill” do indeed simmer with a damnation-and-brimstone kind of desperation, and tunes like the elegiac “A Season of Doubt”—with its funereal piano and jazzy trumpet—feel like the final steps in a procession we all want to avoid. “Absisto”—the centerpiece track—is a spooky and bewitching number that boils down the essence of blues and soul into an elixir of hissing cymbals, vocal chants, and ‘60s-era droplets of trippy keyboards. Another highlight, “Bodies at Bay,” veers toward uplift, with pretty, propulsive guitars and snares moving at a nice clip when the reins are loosened. Swans’ Michael Gira lends his own brand of beautiful gloom to “Exit Plan” and “A Season of Doubt.”

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

9 Ratings

Dark and Seductive Gothic Soul

ethereal_lad,

Cold Specks has the voice of a witch. Ancient, wise and full of fury. The music surrounding her voice is cacophonous and murky. it's dramatic dark rock, swirling synths, mutant horns dramatic shifts in time signatures the resembles the Swans during their gothic folk period. At her best, Cold Specks reminds me of Nina Simone in all her dark priestess glory.

The magic is back!

garabasa,

It’s been worth the wait, but Cold Specks has produced another anthemic collection to plumb the depths of a soul in communion with itself. While nothing can match the nearly spiritual expression of the debut CD, this is a fine sequel, perhaps more meditative, more introspective but equally powerful.

About Cold Specks

Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada-born and London, England-based musician Al Spx, who goes by the stage name Cold Specks, describes her signature sound as "doom soul." Steeped in the old gospel spirituals and traditional folk songs that famed musicologist Alan Lomax spent most of his life putting to tape, her unique blend of Deep Southern soul, Tom Waits/Jeff Buckley-inspired blues, and goth-tinged indie folk first caught the public's attention after an appearance on the popular British music program, Later...With Jools Holland. She released her debut single, "Holland," in 2011 and in 2012, she inked a deal with Mute Records and released her debut album, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. Her sophomore long player, Neuroplasticity, arrived in 2014. ~ James Christopher Monger

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