On Their Feet: Black Needle Noise Rise Up

by coldwarnightlife
Black Needle Noise with Lisa Kekaula

What is the point of pain, if not to lead to healing? Andra Day’s “Rise Up” is about dispersing the clouds of doubt and despair; finding the fighter inside who gets you back on your feet and ready for another round. It is an inspirational and stirring song, which helped win a Grammy for its creators.

It has been given an adrenalin shot by John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise project. Lisa Kekaula (The Bellfrays, Basement Jaxx) takes lead vocals; shaking the foundations with an uplifting, gospel-infused turn that is full of confidence and drive. Fryer’s instrumentation is perfectly-formed scaffolding for Kekaula’s performance; allowing her voice to ascend to heights of power and emotional clarity. The Pixies made a career of the quiet-LOUD template, but Fryer has repurposed it for piano, strings and hand-claps with a joyousness that will move hearts.

Fryer’s history (This Mortal Coil, Fad Gadget, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins) proves that this is not just a happy accident. “Rise Up” is part of a long line of songs that the legendary producer has invested with a delicate power, balancing on a knife’s edge between the energetic and the ethereal. The tension is electrifying, and in the chorus Kekaula’s voice floats and winds like the arc from a Tesla coil. Fryer’s magic box harnesses the power, but make no mistake: it is inside you, too.

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