Vince Grant’s New EP: One Man’s Battle Against Mental Illness
Vince Grant’s story and struggle is definitely not unique to just him – which is probably what makes his new five-song EP that much more important. Grant spent years looking for gigs with several bands, while working jobs just to try and make ends meet in the process, ultimately ending up being held down by his drug and alcohol problems. My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me is his attempt to help the world understood what he knows all too well. In an age where mental illness is finally coming to the forefront of our collective consciousness – as a genuine affliction – Grant’s album creates another window into which someone can understand the battles some people have to face every day of their lives.
The lead track on Grant’s album is “Melancholia”. At first, the song probably sounds like something you often hear on the radio: a trained voice singing over your typical acoustic strings. And for someone who describes his style as “alternative indie gothic rock”, it certainly comes off more like pop/soft rock. Towards the end of his song though, we get a fantastic set of lines which set the stage for the rest of the album in terms of lyricism: “I’ve sailed on the black seas. Been battered by her hand, the sting of her caresses. My screams, swallowed by her kiss.” Grant’s lyrics are layered with meaning, masterfully written to evoke an uncomfortable understanding of his situation.
His next track is “Ocean II”, which once again starts off like something you’d hear off the radio. Fortunately, that sound is not an unpleasant one. There’s a reason it calls to mind pop songs of today (with just a hint of those ghostly gothic organs), and that’s because it’s the type of sound that almost anyone could fall in love with. “Edge of the World” follows up, setting the stage with a bit more somber, more pensive mood than the aforementioned tracks. In this song, Grant is apologetic for his “transgressions” – and basically – the way he lived his life. It is definitely this brand of honest lyricism which makes the album quite a pleasure to listen to.
Another track on the EP is “How Many Times You”, which again has that radio-pop-feel we all know and love/hate. The electric guitar is more prominent here as well, giving the track a bit more attitude and zesty flavour. Yet again though, his lyrics are artistically crafted, and it is quite a feat for Grant to find new, imaginative ways of relaying his experience.
Vince Grant did get some help on this album despite being a solo act (in name). Doug Green lent his talents on the electric guitar and Keith Larsen rocks out on the drums for the entirety of the album. Overall, I was quite impressed with the sound Vince Grant created in My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me, passionately relaying how he feels with poetic lyricism that truly challenges the listener to empathize and understand. However, he certainly does fall into the category of a “typical sound” of the modern pop singer. There is a significant amount of repetition in his tracks, and the upbeat acoustic guitar reigns supreme in all songs.
One could argue that this only serves to help Grant in reaching a wider audience in the long run, and his album is certainly worth a listen to help understand what he (and a great number of people today) have to go through in terms of mental illness and addiction.