Review: Lost In The Trees – A Church That Fits Our Needs

Lost in the Trees are a band who deal only on the grandest sonic scales. Their debut record Time Taunts Me was released in 2007 to minimal fanfare and exposure however despite its length, coming in at under 30 minutes, there existed an epic nature about the band’s songs that was simply irrepressible. Come the Summer of 2010 and Lost in the Trees were back with a more intimate affair in All Alone in an Empty House, an album that was wonderfully stripped back despite its glorious sense of grandeur and beauty.

A Church That Fits Our Needs is the band’s latest venture that serves to form an amalgamation of the two records that preceded it. Neither Here Nor There sounds as though it could have come from the band’s debut with its acoustic stylings transfused with strings and electronic rhythms. It’s a track that encapsulates the album in a manner that an establishing shot would open a film, if you don’t like track one then it’s unlikely that you’ll appreciate what’s to come.

The beauty of Lost in the Trees is that they manage to seamlessly fuse both string instruments with an acoustic guitar. It serves to create a truly cinematic experience. Take Icy River, for example, as at times you could be excused for imagining that a character had just taken a fatal blow and lay wallowing in the regrets and sadness of death. Music often creates shapes and images through which the listener can venture, however few can match the depth of perception that comes from this record.

This is not to say that here lies an album that is entirely bereft of faults. Tall Ceilings at times gets lost within itself as Ari Picker, the band’s principal songwriter and vocalist, delicately sings in a manner that borders on the falsetto – it’s a styling that will not appeal to all – however such a track merely meanders of its own accord, seemingly abandoning the listener on the way.

This Dead Bird Is Beautiful is a track that would not sound out of place on All Alone In An Empty House with Picker’s vocal and strumming acting as the key foundations upon which the song is built before the grandeur sets in with a culmination of strings and a piano. It’s a gradual affair that purposefully takes its time to really show itself before growing into a truly haunting melody that truly expresses the eerie manner of the song’s title.

A Church That Fits Our Needs is a record that borders upon a gothic styling like no other. This is not to say that it is gothic in regards to the genre of music but more in the Edgar Allen Poe or The Castle Of Otranto sense. The howling wails that accompany Picker’s vocal on Garden, creates a huge sense of power and placement that is quite simply a sonic representation of The Fall of the House of Usher. It seems counter intuitive to compare a 21st century record to 19th century literature but it’s quite simply the only way – if you give the album a listen then you will understand with vivid clarity.

Lost in the Trees have abandoned all the shackles that had previously held them down. This is a record that needs to be heard in the dead of night, with the moon shining through the window and with a candle lighting the room. It’s not quite perfect, but then again, it doesn’t need to be.

Domm Norris