An Angle
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An Angle

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The best kept secret in music


"An Angle "We Can Breathe Under Alcohol" (Drive-Thru)"

By Tanya van Kampen
Tuesday. Jun 28, 12:22 AM
An amalgamation of style and form.

Now this is a little different. Thank goodness somebody is still trying.

We Can Breathe Under Alcohol is the second full-length by the Sacramento based band. Singer Kris Anaya is the brawn behind the group’s songwriting: a foundation quite solid in poetic beauty, genuineness, and fervor. Anaya does what so many musicians seem to lack the ability to do: rather than just reproducing the music that influenced him, he honors the artists that molded him. His songwriting is a clear tribute to legends like James Taylor and Bob Dylan without sounding like either of them.

But songwriting is just one part of the equation. An Angle’s music is an amalgamation of style and form. Rock, folk, blues, indie, they’re all here. Each song harbors its own personality. And although the band lists Bad Religion and Violent Femmes as influences, songs like “Green Water” and “A Way With Words” are reminiscent of The Beatles and The Cure, respectively.

Props to An Angle for creating a well-written, diverse album through and through… none of that half-assed bullshit. This one is solid. - Transform Online


...And Take It With A Grain Of Salt

We Can Breathe Under Alcohol


Feeling a bit camera shy


Another Saturday night in the house on P Street, and Kris Anaya is holding court. Anaya, the force behind Sacramento-based Drive-Thru Records’ band An Angle is kicking it with friends, musicians, ragtag boozers and total strangers. Odds are before the night is over he'll have written a couple of songs. Some may end up in the trash. Others may make it onto a CD. But it's all good as far as Anaya is concerned. The 22-year old singer/songwriter lives in a virtual crucible of creativity. For proof, look no further than An Angle's new CD We Can Breathe Under Alcohol.

Following on the heels of his 2004 debut ... And Take It With A Grain Of Salt, the new CD shows dramatic maturity from a highly skilled songwriter. Anaya calls the CD a concept album about Sacramento, a town best known for being Arnold Schwarzenegger's temporary home. Maybe that played a part in his inspiration, since much of the CD touches on the political as well as the personal. "My approach is to be as real as I can," he says, "to share myself with people and say what I need to say even if I get busted for it. It's a little bipolar, but I'm trying to be the best poet I can be."

Considering the quality of the songs on We Can Breathe Under Alcohol he may get there some day. Produced by Robert Cheek, and recorded with Kris' many friends and musical associates, the album puts Anaya's riveting half-whispered vocals front and center. His songs draw on multiple traditions, from folk to country to jam band chaos, but somehow each ends up with a uniquely Angular fingerprint. None more so than the enigmatic first single "Green Water."

Songs like the string-laden acoustically driven "Angry Drunk" and the quirky "Born in a Bottle..." cover ground Anaya knows well. He never romanticizes drinking, but rather holds it up to the light in a brutally honest way. "I write songs about not being in love," he says. Of course there are exceptions like "Whales," a minimalist guitar/vocal track on which Anaya takes his sweet time to express his true feelings. "It's about a girl I like," he says of the tune. "I say in it that even if the sun blows up at least we'll be together drinking. It's the only real love song on the record."

Other tracks, like the sad waltz "True Love" and the intricately arranged "White Horse" serve up wry observations about sterile American life and the futility of faith. Others, like the ultra-ironic "Change the World," tackle another favorite target: the indie music scene. "I think indie is mostly bullshit," he scoffs. "Most of the people in the scene talk shit and babble on. I wanted to tell the truth." The album ends with the fragile "St. Augustine," as confessional as anything written by its 4th Century namesake, though the spirit of Van Morrison can be heard tuning up in the background.
No surprise given his wide-ranging musical passions. Born in Monterey, CA, Anaya's first big musical influence was his guitar-playing cousin. Kris taught himself bass and guitar, and by 14 he was writing and recording songs. By age 17, Kris moved to Seattle to explore the scene there. Just as he was getting deeply into bands like Violent Femmes and Bad Religion, Kris also discovered artists like James Taylor, Bob Dylan and other folk-influenced 60's acts, as well as pioneers like Charles Bukowski and Jackson Pollack.

Eventually he relocated to the Sacramento area where Kris wrote and recorded his first solo album and also joined a local band called Double Think. The turning point came when he met producer/recording engineer Robert Cheek of Sacramento's Hangar Studios. The two began to collaborate regularly, producing a large body of work in a short time. Kris started his own indie label, Under a Cloud Records, for which he cut ...And Take It With A Grain Of Salt. The CD caught the attention of Drive-Thru Records and in short order, Anaya and An Angle had the unwavering support of the label.

In the year since the CD came out, An Angle completed a lengthy U.S. tour. The band also recently attended and played at the 2005 South By Southwest music festival about which Anaya says, "I'd never seen that many bands before. We said, ‘What do we do?’ Obviously we're gonna get drunk."

Anaya admits plenty of people in his life have expressed concern about his affinity for the bottle, but he can be remarkably sober on the topic, especially in his lyrics. So here's the deal: Kris Anaya is a complex young artist, and the best way to keep tabs on him is to follow the musical saga of An Angle. As he says in the song "True Love" from the new album: "Because I want to live a better life/Got to give these eyes a sight to see/So come on god well what you got?/Because I give our hearts another beat."

That's the voice of a true survivor, and We Can Breathe Under Alcohol is nothing less than his survival guide.