Reviewed by Randy Radic
There are many real-life examples of musicians destroying everything around them, but depression is nothing to scoff at or make fun of. It’s a serious and debilitating disease. For those musicians that are lucky enough to come out the other end of the dark tunnel, if they can put what they experienced into lyrics and music, it can be something special. Perhaps the trick to being a rich and famous rock star is to be depressed, recover, and go on to compose songs about it. But it is doubtful any of them would recommend it.
Many musicians end up in rehab for drugs and alcohol abuse; and surely a number of them suffer from depression. Usually, they admit to the drugs and alcohol because it’s part of the rock n’ roll mystique. But most people, musicians or not, don’t want to openly admit to depression. There’s a stigma attached to it, even in today’s world.
Not singer/songwriter Vince Grant. He says, “Drugs, alcohol, depression, they took me out.” He went through rehab, successfully, and now directs his energy into his music, an outlet for not only creative expression but also as therapy. “I write songs to cope. I’d like to say I write songs to heal, but that may be asking too much.”
Whatever the concatenations of cause and effect, listeners should hope that Grant continues to cope by writing more songs. For the Muse of depression is inspiring wonderful tunes.
The title of Grant’s EP is My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me, and it’s a gem. The first track, “Melancholia,” is anything but elegiac, even though the lyrics are introspective. The song alters from soft guitars and Grant’s hypnotic voice to a swelling, surging chorus. During the softer portions of the song, the simple yet strong guitar accents are aurally provocative. Good stuff!
“Oceans II” provides a So-Cal rocker with REM influences, while “Edge of the World” slows things down, sounding almost like a ballad, except the lyrics are too concessive for a ballad. “Edge of the World” is passable, but Grant’s voice shines when the tempo is more upbeat, which is precisely where he goes on “How Many Times You,” probably the best tune on the EP. It’s another So-Cal/REM-ish rocker that builds appropriately, with an outstanding lead guitar solo by Doug Grean. The way Grant utilizes Courtney Love-like guitar accents sets the song apart.
The last track on the EP is “Sweet Addiction,” which is too somber and too slow. Grant’s voice displays a heavy angst that is unappealing. Speaking of Grant’s voice, it is distinctive and mellow, revealing a cheerfulness that he might not feel, but nevertheless is there. His voice reminds listeners of Chris Isaak, but is not quite as cavernous.
The enormity of Grant’s talent is evident on My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me. The arrangements are splendid and the musicianship, along with Grant’s conspicuous vocals, makes the EP a winner.