After being signed to Los Angeles’ Anti-Records, Chapel Hill-based Lost in the Trees is back with a reissue of their 2008 All Alone in an Empty House. Those expecting a Pavement-styled smorgasbord of previously unreleased material will be sorely disappointed; “reissue” here roughly translates to two new tracks and polished masterings.
It’s a shame because Empty House is certainly worth revisiting. The album outrivals its contemporaries with more ambitious arrangements and a larger orchestral sound. Front man Ari Picker’s musicianship is tangible on the album from the moment the strings crescendo on the first track.
Empty House captures the menacing splendor of Carl Orff mixed with the minimalism of Philip Glass in an indie-rock setting. Rarely does a band bridge two genres so flawlessly.
“Walk Around The Lake” is a musical juxtaposition between spooky orchestral hits and Pickers’s ethereal and innocent voice. The chord progressions are refreshingly unpredictable and emote what Picker must imagine in the corners of his mind while he’s all alone in an empty house. When the strings surge, the quaintness surrounding the lead vocals is forgotten and poignant upper-octave shrills nearly drown Picker.
While the two new tracks are a welcome addition, as a reissue, the album will ultimately leave the listener hungry for more. Producer Scott Solter’s (Superchunk, St. Vincent) added oversight is barely noticeable – neither “A Room Where Your Paintings Hang” nor “We Burn the Leaves” stand out enough to change the feel or direction of the album. Politics surrounding reissues aside, now that Anti-Records has the band’s flagship in their hands, maybe Empty House will get the attention it deserves.
Learn more about Lost in the Trees here.