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.