The Sacramento-based trio of Kris Anaya, Joseph Davancens, and Fernando Olivia formed Best Move in 2019. Anaya and Davancens, the primary songwriters of the group, have spent the better part of the past decade playing a wide variety of music under various banners. Anaya, a talented songwriter with a penchant for wry, offbeat guitar-based folk-pop songs, was prone to following his muse down whatever sonic path it might take him; Davancens, who holds higher education degrees in avant garde composition and jazz double bass, was happy to join forces. Best Move has recently released its first single “Forgotten Bloom.”
Best Move was born out of Anaya and Davancens’ decision to return back to their natural inclinations for organic instrumentation and earnest songwriting. Taking direction from both the cinematic song stylings of sardonic yet unfettered, almost confessional 1960s and ’70s troubadours like Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson, and Harry Nilsson (even taking their new band name from the latter’s song of the same) and the “visual scoring” of indie pop song placement in 21st-century TV shows and films, the music quickly took on the personalities and sensibilities of its makers—a sure sign that it was working.
Anaya took inspiration from film and TV soundtracks, in particular the way a song included in its entirety and laid over single scenes could influence the viewer’s overall experience. Citing specifically the niche rock takeover of post-2000 era films by directors like Michel Gondry, Sofia Coppola, and Wes Anderson, he worked to inject the new material with that same sense of visual emotion.
Anaya calls the sound a “thank you to the past,” and while a warm, familiar tone echoes throughout the band’s universe, something unmistakably modern remains. Perhaps it is simply the sound of a decade of winding, disparate avenues finally convening in a perfect center, or of the confidence that comes from recognizing, at last, a perfect fit. For Best Move, that sense of function and feeling permeates their music, and even seeps into the themes of their work.