Pickering Pick has just released a new album entitled (Tropic) on Yer Bird Records. A follow up to Prayer Flag, which he released last year, the album continues in the same vein of soft, finger-picked folk songs and the occasional piano ballad (see lead single Standing Stone). Pick’s gentle delivery and delicate instrumentation could soundtrack a sunny walk through the countryside just as easily as a sad montage at the end of your favourite TV show. Maybe you could read into the album title here and note the parentheses around the pleasant-sounding, warm-weather associated word?
The album’s other strength is in the vocals and songwriting. I believe that he is a UK native who has since relocated to California, and this is apparent in his vocals. The songs are poetic and wistful and deceptively simple, with the yearning and honesty you would expect from any songwriter worth his salt. Here I should say that the lyrics have produced another hypothesis on the album title (revealing my inner biologist), one that probably disproves my first idea. Tropism is the response of an organism to a specific stimulus, for example heliotropic plants position themselves toward/away from the sun to maximize/minimize light on their leaves. There are a few rather clear references to an anthropomorphic version this sort of idea across the album, not least on the title track where Pick sings ‘She grows towards the sun’. The idea can be applied to other, less direct lyrics too, with themes of leaving/staying and so on. It’s an interesting concept and I wonder how far he intended the reference to go through the record.
Whatever was intended, the album is a superb example of how simple but carefully crafted music and strong songwriting can produce some of the most exciting and emotional music that begs to be played again. If you consider yourself a fan of any of the other Yer Bird artists (e.g. Tyler Butler, John Statz, Greater Pacific) then I’d highly recommend checking this out. I’ve embedded one of my current favourites below, so have a listen and then buy the album via Yer Bird Records.