Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Album review: COLD SPECKS - Neuroplasticity

Highlights: A Broken Memory, Bodies At Bay, Exit Plan, Let Loose The Dogs, Absisto


If this is not your first time on this site, it probably means that my opinion speaks to you. In which case getting/buying/illegally downloading Neuroplasticity is what you should do straight away. Drop whatever inept indie bullshit you are listening to at the moment, and follow the link you see above.

This is sensational. “A Broken Memory” is sensational. Gutsy, charismatic, soulful music with rasping horn giving it a sizeable John Coltrane-esque edge.

Al Spx is a talented Canadian lady whose first album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion (chilling acoustic songs that were both powerful and disarmingly simple), was one of my favourite albums of 2012. Neuroplasticity is a much more complex affair. It’s not even about the songwriting (which is uniformly brilliant) or the vocal performances (which are compelling and self-assured), it’s about the arrangements that are now a lot more varied and complete. Inventive, too. Note how masterfully she changes the rhythm in songs like “Bodies At Bay” and “Exit Plan”. Note the dreamy keyboards in “Let Loose The Dogs” or the funky guitar riff in “Living Signs”. Or the soulful madness of “Absisto”. Or the slow and funereal and wonderfully unsettling closing ballad “A Season Of Doubt” which marries wailing sax/horn with elegant piano to moving effect. And that’s me not saying how good the actual tunes are. 

10 songs in 35 minutes. Can you think of a length more perfect?.. She is good and she knows it. Neuroplasticity is one of the easiest nines I can think of.

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