10 Songs, 34 Minutes

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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