Sometimes, it is just about the voice, and this is one of those times. And by this introduction I am not dismissing the songwriting, which is impressive, or the careful, supportive arrangements. But the story here is the voice - a powerful gospel-quality instrument expertly modulated to express the appropriate emotion and nuance. The voice belongs to Canada-born, London-based Cold Specks, whose debut LP, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, is out now on Mute Records.
Here is album track "Blank Maps" recorded live at SXSW. The performance in the video is just the artist and her acoustic guitar --
Al Spx is the pseudonym for the artist who performs as Cold Specks. She describes her music as "doom soul", but don't assume from that label that she is some hipster with aiming for a gimmick. The artist, and the album, is a powerful, sincere gospel-tinged folk-pop. Spiritual and focused on mortality without being religious, capable of alluding to dark times without wallowing in pain and self-pity. And through it all, there is the voice, vulnerable, aching, sometimes in pain and sometimes angry, but in control. Treat yourself to a first look at an artist that has the potential to entertain for years to come.
In terms of performance credit, other live players with Cold Specks are Pete Roberts, Thomas Green, Tom Havelock, Chris Cundy, and Sarah Jones. Additional contributors to the album are Jim Anderson, Rob Ellis, Marley Ellis, Terry Edwards, and Ben Christophers.
"Heavy Hands" (live) --
Twitter ( @coldspecks )