For the past five years or so North Carolina’s Lost in the Trees have been garnering critical acclaim for a sound that blends folk, classical, and chamber pop… So I did more than a bit of a double take when I recently chatted with LITT main man, Ari Picker, who told me, “The new album has an R&B, dancey vibe to it.” He goes on to tell me about the end of Lost in The Trees as we knew them and of their current re-birthing.
“The band, as it existed, has come to an end. We recently performed at Lincoln Center as a farewell to a lot of the material we were playing and a lot of personnel. We have a new lineup and we’re working on new songs. I kind of became interested in having a more upbeat live show and a totally different sound.”
The band have an upcoming appearance at World Café Live this Wednesday, April 24th, and Picker tells me that at the band’s upcoming appearance, they will be playing the entire new album (whose recording is still in the works) and that they “Might be playing one song from previous albums, if we can find a way to make it fit.”
Despite, their new leanings, last year the band released their sophomore LP, A Church That Fits Our Needs. The album was inspired by the loss of Picker’s mother, who took her own life in the summer of 2009. The album is an homage to Picker’s mother, her story, her legacy, and his own family life. It’s also indicative of a progression in Picker’s writing since Lost in the Trees’ debut.
“It’s a sequel, I guess, to Alone in an Empty House, a continuation of the story, a domestic narrative. It’s about my parents’ relationship and my relationship with my parents. It’s a little more modern in composition than Alone in an Empty House. I had been really excited about classical music and I was trying to incorporate the modern classical compositions I was listening to into my songs.”
A Church That Fits Our Needs has drawn comparisons to the likes of Neil Young, Bon Iver, and Radiohead and has been praised for Picker’s ability to weave a sonic narrative in the tradition of recent history’s greatest cinema and literature. However, despite such praise, Picker is wholly focused on his new “R&B,dancey” direction. I asked him what he was most excited for in 2013, to which he replied, “We record the record in a month, so I’m really excited for that and hope that goes well. The band is becoming more of a band. Before, we were trying to fit a chamber sound into a rock club, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, but I wanted the band to have more of a ‘band’ feel and keep my composition stuff separate.”