Pick a Piper – “Lucid in Fjords”
Obscure Sound’s first interview ever was in March 2006 with Brad Weber, a songwriter who showed a knack for richly atmospheric electronic pop with projects like Winter Equinox and The Royal School Series. Weber’s stunning work with Winter Equinox was one of this site’s first “finds”, and it’s not surprising that he went on to big things; he’s currently the drummer of Caribou. On his downtime touring and recording with Dan Snaith, Weber has been focused on a side project he calls Pick a Piper. He leads a pack of talented collaborators like Angus Fraser, Dan Roberts, and Clint Scrivener, who add to Weber’s sound – which he says “combines dance-music structures, poly-rhythmic percussion, atmospheric sound design, loopy melodies and a focus on electronics and production technique to create a sound poised between the organic and the synthetic.”
That quote is a great description of what Pick a Piper present on their debut album. Out April 2nd on Mint Records, the eponymous release features guest vocals from members of Ruby Suns, Enon/Brainiac, Born Ruffians, and Braids. Several tracks from the album are already available, including the excellent “Lucid in Fjords” above. Featuring The Ruby Suns’ Ryan McPhun on vocals, “Lucid in Fjords” is a five-minute journey that progresses from exotically bubbly pop to angular prog-rock. McPhun projects a serene delivery at first, over glistening synth arpeggios and a crystallizing bass hop. The track transitions half-way through, where McPhun’s vocals kick up a notch over metal-inspired dark guitar jangles. “Cabin in the woods, no one will find us,” McPhun sings with an intensely nocturnal flair, his longing croon resembling the most patient Mars Volta efforts.
In addition to the impressive “Lucid in Fjords”, “Cinders and Dust” and “All Her Colours” show Pick a Piper as being consistent in quality. “Cinders and Dust” is highly reminiscent of Weber’s sophisticated work with Winter Equinox, though it’s highly apparent that experience with Caribou has contributed to a sleeker and more involved sound, ably managing to incorporate hypnotic pop smarts with ever-changing electronic arrangements. “All Her Colours”, the first track revealed off the album, features the airy vocals of Enon’s John Schmersal, showcasing a shimmering sound with an accessibly upbeat chorus. It plays like light shining through a glass-stained window.
Be sure to pick up Pick a Piper’s (say that fast five times) excellent debut on April 2nd.