LA Singer-Songwriter Kris Angelis Paints Bittersweet Pictures on New EP

LA Singer-Songwriter Kris Angelis Paints Bittersweet Pictures on New EP

Last year, Kris Angelis had her car stolen. In the years before it and since, she's had other things stolen from her too, like love and dreams and people and hope. This is the way the world goes. We live and we love but we're tested with obstacles at every turn. Knowing this, and so gracious about it, the Los Angeles singer-songwriter crafts indie-pop gems that respond beautifully to our internal wars with the world. Her most recent effort to forgive life's hurdles is Pieces That Were Stolen, a 4-track EP released earlier this month.

We asked Kris to tell us a bit about the EP and here's what she had to say:

[The EP] was written in the year since I was coming back from tour and my car was stolen along with everything in it including my instruments, gear, computer, journals with songs in them, clothes...everything. That experience influenced my writing and is part of the reason the EP has that title, but the songs themselves are more about things that were “taken” from me emotionally.

They are my way of letting go so that I can be whole again. I was able to explore musically by working with Billy Lefler who produced the EP. He really pushed me to take my writing and songs to a higher level and set up co-writes with some artists I hadn’t worked with before including Garrison Starr, Rich Jacques, and Mallory Trunnell of Crimson Calamity.

Though inspired by some sad or intense situations (one song was written and recorded in the midst of my boyfriend’s open heart surgery and recovery), I feel the record is ultimately relatable, empowering, uplifting, and peaceful. As the lyrics of one of the songs says: ‘Shattered, cracked from battles past / we fall apart but we come back / stained glass / stronger than we were before.’

Kris is right -- the songs do feel heavy, weighed down by emotional burden, but they're also little blossoms of hope. Pieces That Were Stolen opens with "Photobooth," built on a quick and tender acoustic guitar rhythm and led by Kris' sweet vocals. It's an expert example of bittersweet: it's got quirky upbeat instrumentation (rhythmic claps and doubled-up vocal tempo) but the lyrics tell a different story of those magical summer nights when you connect with somebody only to realize it was a one-time thing. Regardless, it's a sweet singalong with major hook appeal.

Next comes "The Sparrow," a gentle ballad featuring more acoustic strums accompanied by light sparkles of piano. Kris' vocals here are softened, breathy delivery as she sings poignant lines like "I've fallen so deep / Hoping there's treasure to find," a really powerful statement on the black hole of falling hard for love. The track is so delicate, treated with gorgeous swells of strings hiding behind those hurting vocals. It's a heartbreaking arrangement moving at a slow crawl before it ends abruptly, but on a seemingly hopeful note: "We'll get through the night."

On "Stained Glass," Kris paints an enthralling indie-pop soundscape of vocal versatility, pretty melodies, and subtle percussion buildups. It's definitely commercial-material, one of those fizzy, bubbly songs you hear in the back of a Target narrative and eagerly Shazam it, but it's got more substance than that. It's important. Sweet and twinkly, but urgently reminding us that "we fall apart but we come back."

Pieces That Were Stolen ends with "Bravest," a warm folksy tune stripped-down to its basic production. Kris' vocals are lightened once again, raw and with a certain twang we hadn't heard before, and her acoustic rhythms carry a weighted tenderness again. Aided only by a few wispy harmonies and sparkle of keys, the song is beautiful in just its bare-bones, a dreamy conclusion to the EP.

In four sweet indie ballads, Kris Angelis presents sugary vocals, rhythmic prowess, and major songwriting talent. With Pieces That Were Stolen, the songstress continues to get real about the things that have brought her down, vowing to get back up again. 

Listen to Pieces That Were Stolen and buy it for just $4 below. You can connect with Kris Angelis on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Photo by Shiloh Strong.

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