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Black Needle Noise – These Mortal Covers

by François Zappa

The title of the new album by John Fryer’Black Needle Noise is a reference to his classic 80s project This Mortal Coil where some 4AD artists covered some of Ivo Watts-Russell’s favorite tunes. As John Fryer explained in an interview, he wants to use different singers in BNN, so in this album we have Anjela Piccard singing three songs, Rebecca Coseboom and Pinky Turzo doing two and Tom Berger, Betty X and the Fryer himself interpreting one each one. This is the third album of the project after Before the Tears Came and Lost in Reflections, without forgetting the ReMIXes album released in 2016. 

The album starts with an almost unrecognisable Bang Bang, popularised by Nancy Sinatra, where we can find John Fryer singing and giving an industrial rock sound to the track, especially in the chorus. Next, we can find the spectral cover of “What a Wonder World” that we reviewed one week ago and that was released as single. The album continues with Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic”, one of the tracks more upbeat, pop and danceable of the album and with an interpretation by Beca with the same disco vibe as the original. This cover contrasts extremely with the following song where Anjela Piccard sings furiously her version of punk masters TSOL’s “Black Magic”. Musically, the approach is more rock this time. The album moves back to more familiar territories with a sensual “Walking in My Shoes”. For this occasion, Depeche Mode’s classic is sung by Rebecca Coseboom and John Fryer provides a very detailed production. More elegant and also sensual is the cover made by Anjela of “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, a hit that we know thanks to Rose Royce and one of the best moments of the album. There is also Bowie’s “Changes” with the voice of Pinky Turzo who makes the song even more dramatic. The album continues with Black Crowes’s “She Talks to Angels”, again with Anjela singing. Not being especially a fan of the original classic sound, I have really enjoyed this “update” of the song that is one of the best cover of the album. The immortal “Losing My Religion” is here sung by Rebecca Coseboom, becoming a bit darker and edgy. “Let This Be The Night,” sang by Pinky Turzo sounds classic but I could not find out whose cover it is. The album finishes with the most danceable track of the album, “I know What Boys Like”, original of The Waitresses and with Betty X singing. 

As I have repeatedly said, I am a big fan of covers album and this These Mortal Covers is a really interesting one. Some of the covers are better than the originals, as least in my appreciation, because some of them were already great songs but here they have a sound that I really enjoy more. And of course, it’s always a pleasure to hear new material from the musician who, for me, defined the sound of the eighties. 

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