Chapel Hill-based Lost In The Trees used to have seven people on stage with all manner of non-rock instruments—strings, horns, accordion—to do justice to their carefully-composed and emotive chamber-folk. By the time they made this album they’d pared down to four people, and the songs are likewise distilled. The dramatic orchestral palette is still there, the compositions still richly layered, leader/composer/singer Ari Picker’s voice still warm and vulnerable; but everything’s less florid, more concise, more muscular, more Rock. There’s even some uplift and groove, which is a bit harder to come by on their confessional, emotionally-intense last two records (which I’d also recommend, but for different reasons). Here’s “Sun”.

Buy it here.

Just a fun sidebar: as part of this record’s promotion they held an Instagram contest calling for interpretations of the album cover’s graphic (parallel lines in a diamond shape). I submitted a photo (below), which they kindly chose as a winner, sending me a signed CD as a prize. I don’t cook much, so I’m glad that spatula finally came in handy.

Past Life Instagram Entry

Signed Past Life CD