Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Folk, Chamber Pop
The second album from North Carolina chamber-pop collective Lost in the Trees opens on a note of uncertainty, a far-off piano playing a chilling minor chord. It's a good indication of what's to come. Over the course of a dozen songs, frontman Ari Picker tries to make sense of his mother's suicide against a backdrop of rich orchestration, piled generously atop a base of delicate acoustic folk like heaping spoonfuls of vanilla frosting.
On paper, North Carolina's Lost in the Trees' second full-length outing sounds about as enjoyable as last-chance day at the pound, but this 12-track song cycle, which chronicles the life and death of bandleader Ari Picker's artist mother, who committed suicide in 2009, is as moving and life affirming as it is moribund and gut wrenching. Much of that can be attributed to Picker's incredibly complex, endlessly fascinating composition style, which draws heavily from his classical training, yet maintains a smart, accessible core that brings to mind Sufjan Stevens at his least quirky -- tubas, strings, flutes, harps, bells, and trumpets rarely sound this muscular. Haunting as it may be, A Church That Fits Our Needs succeeds on nearly every level, from the grandiose ("Garden," "Neither Here Nor There") to the austere ("This Dead Bird Is Beautiful," "Vines"), and Picker's voice, which is strong, sonorous, and measured, and never betrays the emotional slap of a lyric like "Icy river/put your arms around my mother/I burned her body in the furnace/'til all that was left was her glory.
Lost In The TreesA Church That Fits Our Needs[Anti-; 2012]By Jay Lancaster; March 21, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGMP3: Lost In The Trees - "Red" A violin and a cello enter. After supplying a bittersweet melody, they give way to a pair of voices and an acoustic guitar. The woman quiets and the man is left to sing, “My mom’s asking where I’ve hid the knives / Well, what do you want them for? / The answer’s in her eyes / I don’t want her to hurt anymore.” This moment, from “We Burn the Leaves” off of 2010’s All Alone In An Empty House, perfectly captures the essence of Lost In The Trees.
Review Summary: The heart strains.While still an album obsessed with death and what may come after, A Church That Fits Our Needs is strangely hopeful even while it relates to the deepest parts of grief, a contemplation of past and present rather than a tear-stained farewell. Frontman and main creative force Ari Picker wrote this after his cancer-stricken mother killed herself shortly after his wedding in 2009, and, yes, A Church That Fits Our Needs is a hard listen. But it’s a triumphant one, celebrating the muse on the cover as often as it mourns her passing.
It takes the bold and broken to imagine the art that lies beyond, just out of our experience. Even under the most tragic of circumstances many understand death as a beginning—a beginning that is shrouded in mystery, possibility, and beauty. It can be an invitation to wonder for those who possess a less than nihilistic outlook on life. Ari Picker, the lead songwriter of the North Carolina pop-orchestral group Lost in the Trees, is one of those people.
Ari Picker, singer/songwriter/arranger for North Carolina's Lost in the Trees, lost his mother in the summer of 2009 when she took her own life. That loss haunts the band's achingly beautiful new record, A Church That Fits Our Needs. Picker's mother, however, does not. If anything, Picker succeeds in dividing the two -- the person and the feeling of losing that person -- so that while the hurt may hover like a shroud, his mother feels more like a muse overseeing the music, right down to her picture on the album's cover.
The woman who stares out at you from the cover of Lost in the Trees’ second album resembles a Renaissance muse more than a photographed subject. She is the mother of the band’s frontman Ari Picker, and she took her own life in 2009. That loss naturally haunts the musician, as such a tragedy would anyone, but A Church That Fits Our Needs addresses her death in a roundabout way, favoring allegorical storytelling over straightforward eulogizing.
In the summer of 2009, as Lost in the Trees frontman Ari Picker was readying the band's debut full-length album, All Alone in an Empty House, for wide release via ANTI- Records, Picker's mother committed suicide. With Alone already complete, out in a limited run a year earlier, Picker ended up channeling his sorrowful muse into the band's next album, A Church That Fits Our Need. .
LOST IN THE TREES play the Drake Hotel Underground Friday (April 6). See listing. Rating: NNN The second album by North Carolina chamber pop group Lost in the Trees is lush and jam-packed with musically ambitious ideas. You could call its widescreen complexity and depth cinematic, but this isn't soundtrack music that fades into the background.
On the band’s Facebook page, Lost in the Trees states Radiohead and “growing old and fear of death” as two of its influences, both of which ring true on the group’s third effort, A Church That Fits Our Needs. The album is as intricate and well-crafted as a Radiohead release, with highly emotional content that was inspired by the recent suicide of frontman Ari Picker’s mother. Picker said he wanted to give her “a space, in the music, to be, and to become all the things she didn’t get a chance to be when she was alive.” The outcome is an expansive collection of thematically and musically complex songs that serves as a beautiful dedication to the musician’s mother, whose photo graces the album’s cover.
WIZ KHALIFA “Taylor Allderdice” (taylorallderdicemixtape.com) Apologies are not ordinarily in order for rappers who have navigated the path from reliable mixtape purveyor to steady pop presence, but last month apologize Wiz Khalifa did, in an open letter to fans. Recalling his influential, woozy 2010 mixtape “Kush & Orange Juice,” he described knowing that he “had created a new genre” that would change music. (For argument’s sake, allow him his hyperbole.) That mixtape gave him momentum, and a major-label deal, which led to his 2011 album, “Rolling Papers” (Rostrum/Atlantic), which was shinier and less narcotic than his older work, but also successful; it was certified gold and spawned three platinum singles.