Album Review: I Predict A Graceful Expulsion by Cold Specks

Released May 22, 2012 via Arts & Crafts.

Her name is Al Spx, the enigmatic Toronto-native records under the name Cold Specks. At 24-years old, this Canadian has released a remarkable debut album I Predict A Graceful Expulsion.

It would be difficult to mimic or alter the voice behind the record. There is this innate sense of rawness that cannot be told “you sound too much like…” or sold on a Top 40 chart. When you break down those walls and lower your guard, it becomes honest and inadvertent. That is what Spx has done in the studio. With Mute Records (Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp) and Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene, Timbre Timbre) working behind the scenes, this record was already destined for an open road. Both labels strongly believe in artist direction over sales.

Describing the “sounds like” is nearly impossible. However, the theme of a few numbers is similar to The National in that a steady build-up is met with a lack of altering emotions. ‘Winter Solstice’ is a prime example. Of Monsters And Mens’ ‘Yellow Light’ could easily fit in the same category.

Expulsion may refer to being exiled from school, banished from the United States Congress, or a Swedish death metal band. Either way you look at the word, it’s far from graceful. Spx makes it hauntingly graceful. She opens by softly exclaiming “take my body home.” Right then and there, you’re left unaware of the emotional journey this record will take. Skip a few to ‘Holland,’ she slowly fuels the fire and unleashes her muscular backing, met with an unexpected crashing piano. ‘Hector’ is perfectly subtle. Somehow she’s pieced together a gorgeous blend of gentle guitar, percussion, bass, and squeezed into two and a half minutes.

“I am I am, I am I am a god-damn believer!” It’s probably safe to say, your words are no longer falling through the cracks. ‘Blank Maps,’ being one of the more upbeat tracks of the album, has a beautiful buildup that’s whisked away by the sound of a withering violin. The finale, ‘Lay Me Down’ is in relation to Spx’s strange fascination with morbidity (as she explained in an interview), “the ground is what this blood knows.” With that, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion ends in similar fashion to how it began; in a beautiful sombre state.

What did you think of the record?

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