With the release of her critically applauded full-length I Predict A Graceful Explosion, the Canadian born and London-based Al Spyx, who writes, records and performs under the moniker of Cold Specks quickly became an international sensation. In fact, after Graceful Explosion’s release, Spyx spent an exceedingly busy two year period touring to support the album, followed by collaborations with Moby, Joni Mitchell (along with Herbie Hancock), Swans and others. Spyx was also nominated for a Juno Award in her native Canada and a a Polaris Prize.
And yet during that period, Spyx found the time to work on the material that would wind up comprising her much-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore effort Neuroplasticity, which the folks at Mute Records will be releasing on August 25 – after her appearance at this year’s Afropunk Festival.
Written in a cottage in a wintery Wick, Somerset UK, several songs on the album, according to Spyx was heavily inspired by her surroundings, including the album’s first single “Absisto,” which is the Latin verb meaning “to withdraw, to depart."
Sonically, that song was comprised of choppy blocks of keyboard chords, bass, seemingly jazz-inspired drumming which manages to evoke the anxiety and claustrophobia that comes from being hopelessly stuck indoors.
"Bodies At Bay,” the latest single off Neuroplasticity is a much warmer and overtly seductive song that manages to continue the album’s somewhat sinister undertones despite the song’s relatively simple arrangement of guitar, bass guitar, drums, synths and of course, Spyx’s incredible and vocals. What really struck me about the song is how Spyx sings with an unhurried, confident sensuality that seems to say “wait, let’s take our time with this."
But interestingly, the song manages to be comprised of three distinct movements that morph, twist and turn towards its inevitable conclusion.