After four-year break, the chamber-pop songstress continues her hot streak on 'Remember Us to Life'

Regina Spektor may have taken some time off between her 2012 album What We Saw from the Cheap Seats and last year's Remember Us to Life, but she kept plenty busy. In addition to giving birth to a baby boy in 2014, the Moscow-born, classically trained pianist wrote the theme song to “Orange Is the New Black” (which garnered her a Grammy nomination) and worked with Chance the Rapper on an alternate version of Coloring Book track “Same Drugs,” which he opted not to put on the final album (“Not using this may be my biggest mistake,” Chance tweeted last June).

On Remember Us to Life, Spektor continues her streak of carefully crafted chamber-pop songs that are more playful than precious, quirky but not self-consciously arty, eccentric yet accessible. Much of the album is lushly orchestrated with grand string arrangements that threaten to overpower Spektor's theatrical stories but never quite do.

Spektor plays with a funhouse-mirror image of cabaret-pop on minor-key track “Small Bill$” and talk-sings her way through “The Trapper and the Furrier” (which sounds tailor-made for the stage). But even on more straightforward piano ballads like “Obsolete” and “The Light,” her evocative language, command of melody and nuanced production touches keep things interesting.