Neuroplasticity

Cold Specks

Al Spx' traditional Somali family didn’t support her doom-y soul-singing dreams when she left home, but others did. The 26-year-old singer's 2012 debut as Cold Specks won her award nominations and made a fan out of Joni Mitchell. Her follow-up simultaneously lets the listener into her world and bolsters her anonymity: Beyond the aliases and the haunting, gothic hymns, we're left with only impressions of who Spx is. “A Quiet Chill,” driven by thumping drums, imbues her familiar stony edge with femme fragility as she sings, “I remain unshakable.” In “Bodies At Bay," a surprisingly upbeat track about love and displacement, she sings about being “caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea.” The "devil," for her, is in the details of diaspora.

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