|A Church That Fits Our Needs (2012)|
While I will be forever in love with All Alone in an Empty House (2008), there is something gritty about A Church That Fits Our Needs (2012). Their debut track, “Red” is more defined than the much loved “Walk Around the Lake.” The old album was lyrical; it told ballads, it made up stories. Here, in their sophomore release, Picker’s lyrics are poetry in their own right. Picker wrote the album while dealing with his mother’s suicide, and perhaps his own journey through that is what moves this beyond simple storytelling into a well-articulated statement of beauty and loss. It’s easy to see why “Red” is the debut track; you can’t help but hear the “beautiful garden that blooms” in the careful considerations of percussion. The xylophone is the budding flower behind the strings and yet the vocals never let one forget that we can “still hear you weeping beyond the wall.” Like the album, “Red” is a celebration of mortality. Picker has, in many an interview, spoke of music as a religious experience and this is certainly true of the album and much more so in the title track.
If “Red” is an upbeat realization then the title track, “A Church that Fits Our Needs,” is an angry questioning and tribute to the healing power of music. The song is part chamber music, part folk, and part something else. The album as a whole should be considered much the same: part worship, part storytelling, and part something else. It will take more than one listen, but you’ll want to listen more than once. And, while I still remain devoted to the first album, I have a feeling that even the morose tones of the second will take root. I’ll just call it "the thinking man’s album", and go from there.