Ibeyi & Berwyn cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above”: listen


“Rise Above”, the opening track from Black Flag’s 1981 debut album Damaged, has been covered numerous times since its release 41 years ago. It’s been covered by punk bands (Misfits), metal bands (Sepultura) and, quite famously, indie rock noodle experimenters Dirty Projectors. And now it’s been covered by Ibeyi for their next album Spell 31.

Ibeyi’s cover of “Rise Above,” which features a verse by East London rapper Berwyn, is in keeping with the duo’s jazzy, downtempo and rhythmic approach. You could almost hear it as an extension of how Dirty Projectors transformed the song, though twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz gave the song another kind of idiosyncrasy that reminds me of Björk tripping- poof.

A statement from Lisa-Kaindé:

We read the lyrics and immediately felt their relevance to how we felt about the world as it is. We got to work on the melody and did the whole song in 5 minutes. Jorja Smith heard the track and told us we had to have BERWYN on the song. We had him come to the studio to listen to the full album. I went to make tea, on my way back to the studio BERWYN had already written his verse for “Rise Above”, before he had even finished listening to the album. We knew we had something special, what a gift!

Listen below.

Spell 31 came out 5/6 on XL.


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