The last time I mentioned Lost on Purpose, I had discovered them serendipitously via an errant eBay search. I’m glad to say that I’ve been an admirer ever since then. Their 2010 album A Knight At The Crossroads fits in nicely on the shelf between Bon Iver and Simon and Garfunkel, ready for deployment on rainy, contemplative days.
After months spent tripping through Cambodia last fall, frontman Will VanderWyden has come back sounding stronger, more confident, and more resonant. Adding keyboardist/vocalist/producer Jacquelyn Thropay to his lineup has brought a softer, more delicate sound to Lost on Purpose’s newest record Ashes.
Although frontman Will VanderWyden’s voice still carries a slight Conor Oberst tremble at times, he exhibits vocal chameleonry on Nowhere Hard Enough and takes on a rich baritone akin to The National’s Matt Berninger. Fans of VanderWyden’s Elliot Smith-inspired whisperings will take comfort in their presence on Ashes.
The album’s title track carries a sense of urgency that brings to mind flashing lights in your periphery while highway driving in the dead of night. VanderWyden explains that he intended the album to be “simple and honest” with raw, dark undertones. Inspired by the image of a young Cambodian genocide victim, Ashes explores sounds rippling with rich tonality and subtle imaginations.
I’m not going to tell you which songs I like the best, because I like them all.
Instead, melt your heart with Sails, take courage with Nowhere Hard Enough and rock yourself to sleep with Dubrovnik.