Lost in the trees

Past Life (Anti-)

Rating: NNN

On Lost In The Trees’ latest, head composer Ari Picker’s simplified the band’s signature orchestral folk sound – but not in the way you’d expect. Yes, the North Carolina-based collective contracted from six to four members. But the pared-down aesthetic is actually achieved via an electro-rock set-up, heavy on beats and bass lines, that turns Picker’s floating vocals into the most important instrument. For the first time, it’s at the forefront of each song, carrying the emotional melodies.

In another first, the band worked with an outside producer, Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), who completely endorsed their new studio mantra: How much can we strip away?

Peeling back layers doesn’t leave Past Life in a vacuous state, but in a more controlled landscape where each element feels more dramatic. The album as a whole is still more interesting than any of its individual parts, but now we can truly appreciate each and every fragment.

Top track: Night Walking

Lost In The Trees play the Garrison on Sunday (February 23).

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