11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Classically trained composer and artist Ari Picker doesn’t think small. After making a string quartet central to a 2007 EP (Time Taunts Me), Picker plowed deeper into the fertile orchestral-pop field for his sophomore release. Working in the familiar palette of indie folk-rock bands like the Decemberists and Neutral Milk Hotel, but taken to a grander scale, All Alone In an Empty House sets a new bar for the “orchestral pop” crowd. The record starts off modestly with the delicate opening minutes of the title track; but soon, Picker’s yearning voice turns to a wail, and his acoustic finger-picking yields to billowing strings and backup vocals rising like rage in the throat: the devastating lyrics are snatches of childhood memories, washed in the hues of parental discontent. It’s unnerving, and utterly lovely. From the brawny guitars and scrappy choral shout-outs on “Fireplace,” to the “Carmina Burana”-flavored drama of “Walk Around the Lake” and the elegant classical grace of “Mvt. 1 Sketch” and “Mvt. 2 Sketch,” it is, quite simply, dazzling. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Classically trained composer and artist Ari Picker doesn’t think small. After making a string quartet central to a 2007 EP (Time Taunts Me), Picker plowed deeper into the fertile orchestral-pop field for his sophomore release. Working in the familiar palette of indie folk-rock bands like the Decemberists and Neutral Milk Hotel, but taken to a grander scale, All Alone In an Empty House sets a new bar for the “orchestral pop” crowd. The record starts off modestly with the delicate opening minutes of the title track; but soon, Picker’s yearning voice turns to a wail, and his acoustic finger-picking yields to billowing strings and backup vocals rising like rage in the throat: the devastating lyrics are snatches of childhood memories, washed in the hues of parental discontent. It’s unnerving, and utterly lovely. From the brawny guitars and scrappy choral shout-outs on “Fireplace,” to the “Carmina Burana”-flavored drama of “Walk Around the Lake” and the elegant classical grace of “Mvt. 1 Sketch” and “Mvt. 2 Sketch,” it is, quite simply, dazzling. 

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