Lady in White
The third album from Lost in the Trees represents a major volte-face move on the part of the group's mastermind, singer/songwriter Ari Picker. Up until Past Life, the Chapel Hill, N.C., outfit employed a chamber-pop sound with lush string and horn arrangements, elegantly flowing melodic lines, and overt classical influences. This time around, there's a different agenda on the table. With Picker still calling the shots and producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors) on board, there's still an appealingly off-kilter art-pop inclination. But the expansive, orchestral flavors are eschewed for a significantly stripped-down, sometimes minimalist approach built around steady, throbbing beats and relatively simple keyboard lines. Were it not for Picker's own airy vocal tones, tracks like the uncluttered, almost synth-poppy "Lady in White" and "Sun" would be tough to identify as the output of the band behind A Church That Fits Our Needs or All Alone in an Empty House. But that's part of what progress is all about.