Kris Angelis is melodic, hypnotic and addictive in the new Heartbreak is Contagious EP

 Heartbreak_EP_cover.jpgI have been listening to Kris Anglis’ new EP, Heartbreak is Contagious over and over since I recently had her on my radio show, partly because I can’t stop and partly because every time I listen I hear something musically and emotionally new.  As with all things Angelis, Heartbreak is Contagious is melodic, hypnotic, and dense with addictive emotion.

Three of songs on the EP explore the pain of the love’s demise; the fourth is fun, funny, and foot-tapping, but actually a cathartic part of the EP’s soulful narrative. Only Angelis could pull that off --  perfectly blending pain and heartbreak with laughter and catharsis in the same EP.

Heartbreak is Contagious was written with and produced by Morgan Taylor Reid and Alexander Cardinale, except for my favorite song, “Life Support” which was written entirely by Angelis and produced by  Bill Lefler. The album follows her earlier The Left Atrium and, like The Left Atrium, allows you to understand what an emotionally defective heart feels like with stunning poetic lines like I swear there was a time /when you belonged to me/But I'm a two-way heart/ On a one-way street.  Even deeper than the writing are the concepts: taking a heart off life support in one song and a love as a home built by love but then turned into a solitary confinement prison when love dies in another.

The title concept is also deep, but, for an emotional EP, very logical.  When a heart breaks, two hearts are damaged and they can’t love others, or as she sings, Heartbreak is contagious, contagious/It's not like we can talk it out/we've run out of words somehow.    Simply put, when you can’t really love anyone, including yourself,  you often end up breaking someone else’s heart…your pain becomes contagious.

For me, the most powerful song on the EP is “Life Support”. The song’s concept of a heart on life support is true to the broken corazón narrative, and the writing is as poignant and personal as anything Angelis has done, but the arrangement grips your heart and your ears. It begins with her gentle vocal fingers that slowly increase the pressure on your heart until she shocks it with electric paddles in full orchestration and an overdubbed voice drenched with urgency.  And then she takes you off life support and lets you drift free, the pain ebbing back.

The last song, “Kevin Bacon” is almost from another world, a pop world.  It is bright and snappy and loaded with hooks.  As the drum machine taps out a dance beat she sings,

There's something, there's something in the air, in the air 
Running your fingers, your fingers through my hair, through my hair
and then we're kissing lipstick is everywhere, everywhere.

Wow; I am dancing everywhere, everywhere.

This EP was a stretch for Angelis, not only in the addition of a hooky pop song but in the collaborative writing process – not her usual m.o.  She also wrote one of the songs in one day, also not her usual m.o.  The result of this stretch is that Heartbreak is Contagious has won the Best Female EP Award of 2016 by the LA Music Critics and the Best Female Artist in the International Acoustic Music Awards.  The song "Built This House”  won in the Adult Contemporary category of the International Songwriting Competition I suspect it will rack up more awards and add many, many new fans.

Kris Angelis. www.krisangelis.com 

Heartbreak is Contagious available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify

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