Watch Porridge Radio Cover Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire”
If you’ve been reading Stereogum this year, you already know we’re fully onboard with the cathartic Brighton band Porridge Radio. Earlier this year, we named them a Band To Watch, and then we designated their great sophomore effort Every Bad Album Of The Week. This morning, they also popped up on our annual Best New Bands list. Everything they’ve done this year has just been dialed-in; we’ve been watching a young band come into their own and stake their claim as one of the most promising new names out there. Recently they shared an excellent standalone single called “7 Seconds,” and now they’re back again with something special.
This time around, Porridge Radio have taken on “Who By Fire,” Leonard Cohen’s song inspired by the Hebrew prayer “Unetanneh Tokef.” “I’ve loved Leonard Cohen since I was a teenager, and when he died we learnt this song in tribute to him,” Dana Margolin wrote on Instagram. “It’s always been a favourite of ours so we were really happy to record it for our session at St Giles’ Church Camberwell. The lyrics are from the Jewish liturgy for the new year (Rosh Hashana), and this was filmed the same week as Rosh Hashana this year.”
Given the differences in aesthetic between Porridge Radio and Leonard Cohen, you might be able to assume that the band’s take on “Who By Fire” is a little different. While it stays true to the melody and general arc of the track, Porridge Radio’s “Who By Fire” is stormier; it might stop short of the full-on release many of their songs erupt into, but it nevertheless builds and builds as it goes. You can hear it and revisit Cohen’s original below.