feature: cold specks gets heavy on ‘neuroplasticity’ #soundcheck

September 15, 2014

Cold Specks burst onto the scene with a powerful whisper with I Predict A Graceful Expulsion. 2 years later, Al Spx still makes the kind of music you can’t help but get lost in, but adds a bit of bombast for good measure. Her latest record Neuroplasticity fulfills the promise of her term “Doom Soul.”

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Opening with “A Broken Memory,” the record makes brilliant use of a distorted organ, harvesting it’s low end to maximize the eerie dread her music has always summoned. A mournful trumpet sounds in the distance while thundering drums pound away like a funeral march for Henry Selick characters. Spx seems to be intent on out Nick Caving Nick Cave. She mostly succeeds. When things get sludgy in the finale of “Old Knives,” it’s shocking, but in all the right ways. Her voice is swallowed whole under a wave of organ organ notes, leaving you breathless.

If there’s one complaint, it’s that Spx’s powerfully delicate voice is too often swallowed by the waves of tension and texture. It’s not until “A Quiet Chill” and “Exit Plan,” that she rises above the sea. When she returns to the quiet darkness on “Absisto” it brings out one of the best tracks on the record. The elegiac closer “A Season of Doubt” puts the focus squarely on Al Spx’s voice. Accompanied by minimal piano chords and haunting horns, Spx soars. “I’ve got an unrelenting desire to fall apart.”

Album available here.