Ari Picker's first band Lost In The Trees was known for cinematic, orchestral folk music that incorporated many layers of instrumentation including strings and horns. It was beautiful, complex and artful. His new project is more direct and takes its lead from keyboard synths, guitar and a driving rhythm section. Dante High's debut is eight tightly performed, taut songs that clock in at just 30 minutes.
The opening track "Parking Lot Soul" first came to light last year, and it had me so bamboozled I thought it was an English band. I would not have recognized the music or your voice until someone told me. There are a lot of 80s influences in this music, invoking The Cars, Tubes, and George Michael. Those artists are before Picker's time, but he nails the sound in his songs, which are infectiously fun.
"Frustrated" has an irresistable keyboard hook.
"Just when I think I can't hurt no more, there's blood coming from my head I'm bleeding out on the dance floor."
The video looks like it was a blast, too.
Picker also takes a sprint with a chainsaw in the video for "Green Swamp."
Dante High plays a record release show tomorrow night at The Pinhook in Durham. You can hear more songs from Dante High at WUNC Music and at 91.5 HD2.