Cold Specks: Fool's Paradise (Arts & Crafts) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Cold Specks

Fool’s Paradise

Arts & Crafts

Sep 19, 2017 Cold Specks Bookmark and Share

After two albums, Cold Specks, the stage name used by Canadian singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, still felt like a talent in search of a sound. Fool’s Paradise doesn’t do much to alter this situation, but it does allow Hussein to showcase the reason her embryonic style remains worth sticking with.

It comes down to her voice, an instrument equally at home subtly altering the feel of a line, or blasting emotional punchlines. Not that she turns to the latter often, maximizing the impact by refusing to use it as a crutch.

Instead, much of Fool’s Paradise is a smooth affair. Hussein is a soulful singer, and soul seems to be her safe space. “Wild Card” brings understated funk in the bass line while electronic beats fade in and out across tracks, bringing a little sci-fi to the table on “New Moon.”

It keeps coming back to her voice though. She tracks it and backs herself, the music always playing beneath. Therein lies Cold Specks’ problem. Everything seems geared towards letting Hussein sing, which is okay because she extracts great depths of emotion time and again, but it relegates the songs to a similar formula. She sounds intimate, she builds, she pauses, and she hits a climax, all with the same kind of tunes underneath. Listening to Cold Specks remains a restless, and sometimes sparkling experience. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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