Al Spx of Cold Specks offers up her most intimate inner-workings on the band’s first album, the Polaris Prize Nominated I Predict a Graceful Explosion – but she hides behind a pseudonym.
The paradox of deep intimacy and a stage name seems fitting for Spx who sings in a style heavily influenced by southern-style gospel, yet is backed by a single finger-picked guitar or booming drums. She calls it doom-soul and it seems to be the only fitting title.
I Predict a Graceful Explosion is enchanting and dark, beautiful and revealing – touching on themes of loss, depression, and struggling with god. If you are to believe Spx, the album is too honest.
“If I would have known how many people would have heard it, I would have made it less honest and more playful. Playful is about performance, it’s more fun and less stressful than baring your heart every night, but no regrets,” says Spx. “There is no harm in learning and improving from there.”
Her songwriting is brutally honest and bare, but it is her soulful and earnest voice that sells those lyrics and shows weariness, wisdom, and capability beyond her twenty-something years. As a child of immigrant parents who valued education and religion, Spx struggled with both god and schooling in youth – even going so far as to fake an attempt at college while she secretly snuck around to make music.
Spx’s next album, though, will be a little less about her and quite a bit less honest.
“I want to make people dance, I want to tell other people’s stories,” says Spx. “People tend to latch onto songs that are honest. The audience has an attachment to [personal songs] because they get to know the artist a bit more, people find that appealing. I don’t care about that. I can only hope people appreciate the sounds and the songs, really.”
Cold Specks is playing Park Theatre on Monday, Nov. 26 with her band who she calls, “A bunch of good peeps” and this show is not to be missed.