Grieving the suicide of his mother, Ari Picker has made a memorial in the form of an album to celebrate her life. Picker, who is classically trained, writes and arranges these beautiful orchestral songs. The rest of the band is made up of very talented chamber players. While Picker describes himself as not being a “church-goer,” he hopes the church in the album title is a safe space, a place of transcendent experience.
The string arrangements and Picker’s vocals give the music a film score quality. At times they channel Andrew Bird’s classical-folk sensibility; other times they use more pop hook melodies. Much of the imagery is from nature—birds taking flight, vines, waterfalls, and rivers. The lyrics of “Garden” describe this album best, “The peace our music brings/Our song is a Garden/And what we sing will grow/Unlike your killing song/Cause out of your mouth come weeds/It’s so peaceful here/It’s where I think I’ll stay.” (ANTI Records)