I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, Cold Specks' enigmatic 2012 debut, was a spectral, spacious collection of songs. The year that followed its release found artist Al Spx touring the album and, eventually, growing tired of the songs that helped make her name. Unsatisfied with the sparseness of her gospel-meets-gothic melodies, Spx set out to fill those spaces with finer details, something she succeeds in doing on her follow-up, Neuroplasticity.
Opening number "A Broken Memory" immediately swells with the ominous booms of an organ before drums plunge into the picture. Still present is Spx's chilling and distinguished voice, but instead of letting the vocals echo in its bare space, tracks like "A Quiet Chill" are embellished with woozy saxophones and an intense hard-hitting backbone of drums, the latter of which is a prominent fixture throughout the record. This isn't to say that Neuroplasticity is a full-on rock record, though, as much as it's just a transition for Spx into something that takes a variety of musical turns. Neuroplasticity lures us deeper into the mind of Al Spx; hopefully, she'll find these as easy to latch onto as we do. (Arts & Crafts)