A Church That Fits Our Needs

Lost In The Trees

Anti- Records, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


In recent years, there has been significant tragedy in the life of classically trained musician Ari Picker. Like any good creative mind, the North Carolina writer and composer parlayed the hard times into exceptional art. The sophomore album from his musical vision, Lost In The Trees, meshes Picker's classical ideas with orchestral strings and lush piano work and places it against dark, haunting pop moments with chilling rhythms and soaring melodies. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With its emphasis on sweeping strings and Picker's divine tenor, the music here is nothing short of beautiful with its unparalleled amount of grief. After a brief opener of stark keys ("Moment One"), “Neither Here Nor There” lays out vibrant pianos and gentle percussion to complement the expressive vocals.  Though it's entirely an emotive offering, “This Dead Bird Is Beautiful” is particularly heartfelt with very intimate wordplay undoubtedly directed at Picker's late mother (her photo is the cover art). The orchestral, chamber pop moments here are nothing short of awe inspiring; “Golden Eyelids” is heavy on the strings while “Garden” swells and soars into a majestic, heavenly masterpiece.

Though Picker arranged all the tracks here, he has plenty of help in the background. Chamber instruments and horns are all used to achieve the utmost impact, and the band certainly succeeds at that. In fact, each song is executed so well, it's hard to figure out which are the most indelible. “Red” might be the most aching moment here, where the vocal melodies are backed up by harps to strengthen the mood. However, even the sparse tracks like "Vines," which is driven by calm strumming, leave the listener enthralled.

There is no moment on this disc that doesn’t have grace, sophistication, and deft instrumentation. With influences as deep as Stravinsky and Shostakovich, there's also some current indie rock influence amid the folky and often cinematic backdrops. Though the subject matter surrounds one's passing, the music is gloriously life affirming –uplifting even. It would be ineffable to truly describe how resplendent this album is. This one enters the realm of life-changing.

Rating: A

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