Monday, August 9, 2010
Ari Picker (B-Sides, the Never) grew up in a small, skipped-over town outside of Chapel Hill, NC back in the early 80's. The Picker family didn't have much; but unlike the cozy fairytales where the family lives on laughter, air and maybe some loaves of sweet brown bread - they didn't have much in the way of anything. The house was one of hostility, sadness and loss. We're talking the major, scary things - parent's who loathed the space the other existed in, twin sister siblings who died at birth and his mother's subsequent depression. Just looking at the list makes me want to press my forehead against my prefab laminate desktop and close my eyes against it.
Picker got away, away, attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he was trained in classical composition. His love of sweeping orchestration, combined with rustic folk roots and the right people, has brought him to his current band, Lost in the Trees. He writes the music and hands it out to those who truly want to play his old ghosts out to the room. He is not afraid to tell the tale of what has been; that he had been All Alone In An Empty Room - expected to release Aug. 10.
The titular song samples the creak of old floorboards as we enter this abandoned effigy. It starts easily enough with Picker's acoustic guitar picks, but it's not long before provocative lyrical samples from actual arguments of his parents, I built you this gorgeous house/To put up with your bitch tongue, let's you know you can never be warm here. The instrumentalists come in one by one, swarming and surrounding yet his tremulous vocals remain alone.
You're thinking, "jesus h, woman. Way to shave my buzz for the week," but it's worth the listen. You'll hear the influence of Bernard Hermann's Hitchcock soundtracks in his interludes "Mvt. 1 and 2." Instrumentation is downright impressive, and as we hope for him since the opening note - there is light on the other side. Picker has said in recent interviews that the rawness of his lyrics cracked the doors that separated his family from each other. "You really felt that?" "Why didn't you ever say it?"
Well. He is.
Lost in the Trees // All Alone in an Empty Room