No-one does a cover like John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise. Some people understand the idea of making a song your own, even if it is such a permanent fixture of the musical landscape, as we find happening here. A few have the imagination to subsume familiar music into such shockingly dark sonic underworlds. But no-one else has the audacity it takes to truly make such a musical transformation work so well as John.
We’ve had a few tastes of his ability to turn classics and standards into musical chimera’s of his own design, most recently when aided and abetted by Anjela Piccard he took on The Black Crowes’ She Talks To Angels. But even set against such a reworking, the distance between Louis Armstrong’s sweet and life-affirming original and the dystopian creature that he ends up with seems one hell of a leap of faith.
Tom Berger is no stranger to this world, having been a member of Sundealers who were signed to Fryer’s Something To Listen To label in the nineties. Perhaps that is why he was able to perfectly reflect the massive transformation from such an innocent slice of music history into a crunching, industrial wall of sound in his vocal delivery. What emerges from the other side is just as euphoric in its sentiment but sounds as if it was being sung in the midst of a revolution where the roots have risen up to take over the world. And I’m not even sure which side is singing this song.
They say if you are going to cover a song then you should make it your own. You certainly can’t say that the guys haven’t done that!