The world is full of soulful singers who aren’t soulful. Just watch the X-Factor to understand me; or rather don’t, unless your want to lose your soul. So, under the impression that Cold Specks was fronted by a soul singer, I sat down to listen to ‘Blank Maps’ with some trepidation. But my apprehensions were swiftly removed.
‘Blank Maps’ opens with a guitar riff that is more Radiohead than Joss Stone and then the voice kicks in. I’ve never been a fan of great voices; by which I mean I don’t give a fuck if a voice can hit every note in the vocal range – I’d rather listen to a voice breaking with sorrow or anger any day. Al Spx, the singer with Cold Specks, has a great soulful, gospel voice, but she has something more; she has darkness. There is something Southern Gothic, full moon, steamy nights, civil war graveyards about her voice. She’s cool and sings like she means it. I keep replaying the song. What greater compliment can there be than that?
If Cold Specks can keep a blank map ahead of them, rather than be turned into another musical cliché by the record industry that reduces everything to the lowest common denominator (sales), then it’s going to be a wonderful, dark journey.
And any band that is named after a quote from James Joyce’s Ulysses has to have the endurance for a long, dark, but ultimately rewarding, journey.
The single is out now. The debut album ‘I Predict A Graceful Expulsion’ will be released on 21st May, through Mute.
The above appeared on Backstreet Indie 01/05/2012: http://backstreetindie.com/upcoming-singles-roundup/