For Lower Dens singer and songwriter Jana Hunter, music has always functioned as more than a simple form of entertainment.

For Lower Dens singer and songwriter Jana Hunter, music has always functioned as more than a simple form of entertainment.

As a child, the violin offered stability and escape amidst a home life the musician described as "chaotic" - "I would spend a long time every day practicing scales and baroque pieces, and I think doing that was definitely a way to maintain some element of control," she said - while in more recent years, songwriting and recording have evolved into a means of relating with the world at large.

"I want to write and perform music that aims, maybe even first and foremost, to connect with other people," said Hunter, who joins her bandmates for a concert at Rumba Café on Thursday, Jan. 21. "When I think about the world the way that it is, and the way people suffer and struggle to communicate with and understand one another, I wish I could reach right through the songs and turn their heads … so they could understand each other better."

Prior to launching Lower Dens in 2010, Hunter was prepared to give up music altogether. Working as a solo artist, songwriting tended to be a more insular, selfish pursuit, according to the singer, and she generally dreaded sharing these intimate confessions with audiences. As a goodbye, she assembled a backing band and hit the road for one final tour.

"And then playing with that band, I realized I enjoyed playing music with other people much more than I'd ever enjoyed playing music by myself," Hunter said. "It followed from there that if I wrote music to play with those people to share with other people, I might get more out of it than I had writing music that was just this self-indulgent therapy."

The years since could be viewed as a steady blossoming, with Lower Dens' music gradually spreading its arms to embrace a wider audience. The band's third album, Escape from Evil, released in 2015, is its most inclusive effort yet, built around shimmering, synth-pop instrumentals shaped by the open-hearted music Hunter gravitated toward in her youth, like the Smiths and U2.

"People make a lot of how musicians who came up in indie or experimental or whatever have shifted more and more towards pop, and I think there's the pessimistic angle in analyzing that where … maybe it's easier to make money off music that's more accessible," Hunter said. "But, especially with the way our world has gone, I wonder if it's just that we all are more desperate to connect with one another.

"I really believe in the ability of good musicians and good music to do that for people - to allow them to transcend the limitations of their culture or their family situation or whatever it is. I really feel like it allows them the possibility to become the kind of people who can connect with the world and the universe in a much broader way."