NPR.org Premieres First Track “Red” Today
In the summer of 2009 writer, composer, and general architect of the group, Ari Picker, lost his mother, an artist in her own right, when she took her own life. Picker set about transforming the events into a musical tribute, composing and writing with his mother’s picture above his desk: the same picture that now graces the album’s cover.
“I 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,” Picker says.
The result is an album that can stand alongside, not only musical journeys like Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night” and Bon Iver’s “For Emma, Forever Ago,” but also such literature of loss as Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking.”
While this might sound like a somber affair, A Church That Fits Our Needs is anything but. Picker, a classically trained composer, utilizes rhythm as its own emotional language, never losing the propulsive inevitability and vitality of great rock and roll. Above all this is pop music, in the way that “A Day In the Life” or Radiohead’s “No Surprises” are pop music, seeking to present complex ideas to the widest possible audience.
Lost In The Trees’ Anti-Records 2010 debut album All Alone In An Empty House was a triumph with critics and music fans alike. Bob Boilen of NPR called it his “surprise album of the year” and “mighty potent stuff.” The Washington Post said “the band’s rich, fully realized arrangements elevate Picker’s heartfelt songwriting to memorable heights.” While the Huffington Post said the record “is spellbinding in its musical ambition, touching in its intimacy, and often overwhelming in its emotional honesty. Lost in the Trees is verging on creating a new genre of music.”
As on All Alone In An Empty House, Picker has once again surrounded himself with musicians who bring his vision to life with verve and sensitivity. A special contribution comes in the vocals of Emma Nadeau, whose soaring wordless melodies counter Picker’s ecstatic vocals throughout. Recorded and produced by Picker in North Carolina, the album was mixed by the legendary Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), bringing out the lush tones of the orchestrations in their full grandeur. At end of day, A Church That Fits Our Needs is the album Picker set out to make, a moving testament to the power of music to heal and transcend.