Adele Gallogly


The bittersweet struggle of Cold Specks


Have you heard the bluesy, showstopping voice of Canadian singer-songwriter Cold Specks? I first did a few weeks ago, when her song ‘Winter Solistice‘ came on CBC Radio in the car. Since then I have been marveling at her album ‘I Predict a Graceful Expulsion’.

Over at Think Christian, I explore the spiritual struggle at work in her album of “doom soul.” An excerpt:

[Cold Specks’] powerhouse vocals are more blues than pop, and often mingled with strings and simple piano chords. The arrangements alone have spiritual heft by mimicking the rhythms of deeply Southern gospel and chain-gang choruses.

This is neither church music nor romantic break-up music, though. Specks is exploring a different lyrical trajectory – that of being spiritually spurned and emotionally lost. Every song is not just being sung by her but also … wrung from her. They ache with this world’s weighty frustrations and ask the hard questions that come from encountering loneliness, mortality and hypocrisy. “Lay Me Down,” for example, is a hymn-like plea for peace in the face of death. “With my last breath my soul will slip,” she rawly croons.

Her lyrics are full of Biblical allusions and imagery. “Holland” is especially rich. She speaks of “find[ing] God in the gutter.” “We are dust/and to dust we shall return,” she sings in the chorus. A few lines later, she asks: “Oh death, where is thy sting?”

Such palpably spiritual themes set Specks apart from singers such as Adele and Amy Winehouse. For some Christian listeners, her religious restlessness may add a layer of intimacy and understanding not found elsewhere in popular music.

She is unlikely to be embraced by every Christian listener, however…

Read the full piece here.

Author: Adele Gallogly

I'm a writer and editor living in the lovely city of Hamilton, Ontario. By day, I write for World Renew, a relief and development agency; during evenings and weekends, I let short stories, essays, and other pieces out to play. I like to write about the intersection of faith, art, culture, and justice.

4 thoughts on “The bittersweet struggle of Cold Specks

  1. Sounds like my kind of music and my kind of person. No time to listen now, but mental note has been made. Thanks for the recommendation, Adele.

  2. You had me at “Canadian” (spoken as an uprooted Calgary boy to Washington state!). I miss the nuanced sophistication of the Canadian music scene.

  3. This is so awesome! Just an awesome song! 😀

  4. I love getting new music recommendations. I’m definitely intrigued.

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