Cold Specks

Nov. 27
7:30 p.m.
Singer-Songwriter, Soul

Cold Specks is the alias of Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter Ladan Hussein, whose haunting, soulful voice twists and sidles through deep seas of emotion. Her third album, Fool’s Paradise, is a spare and melancholy but subtly rich and complex reflection on her roots. In contrast to Hussein’s first two albums, whose moody “doom soul” still varied tempos and sometimes used rock instrumentation, Paradise is more restrained, maintaining a languid pace with enigmatic synth-pop and sketchy musings while an unsettling tension lurks beneath the surface. Hussein’s distinctive gospel-folk-blues hybrid is intact, but sometimes pared to spacey electronics over a funky beat as on “Rupture” or laced with whispery R&B as on “Wild Card.” Despite songs like “Exile” and the title track (where she invokes legendary Somali queen Araweelo), Hussein’s take on Somalian upheaval is largely impressionistic, which combined with the temperate music perhaps reflects her struggle (as she sings in Somali) to “understand the difference between your bones and your soul.” LA Timpa opens.