Even though she was born thousands of miles north of the Mississippi River Delta, Cold Specks’ religious upbringing means her music is riddled with gospel overtones not dissimilar to those found in the deep south, only she was also raised on a diet of Tom Waits, Bill Callahan and more recently Richard Hawley.
With a voice that evokes the ‘spirit feel’ of Mahalia Jackson and the visceral tones of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cold Specks’ sparse arrangements and chain gang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.
The 26 year-old Canadian singer under the sobriquet Al Spx has been a byword for rare talent and depth of feeling since her arrival in late 2011. In November, she performed ‘Lay Me Down,’ and ‘Old Stepstone‘ on Jools Holland. It turned into one of those shared national moments of cutlery-dropping, slack-jawed TV transfixion. She signed to Mute and released the first Cold Specks album.
Hailed as a masterful and wholly original debut, the follow-up, Neuroplasticity, out on 25th August, is radically expanded. It is bleaker than before perhaps but the wintry feel of Cold Specks material, self-described last time as ‘doom soul,’ has the quiet power of seeds cracking through ice.
Listen to the new song ‘Absisto’ here:
The Picturehouse Cafe Bar is open beforehand for delicious food and drinks.