Vince Grant – “Oceans II”
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Vince Grant tackles a very complex and personal topic on his latest release: mental illness. With a powerfully shimmering alt-rock sound that has drawn comparisons to Manic Street Preachers and REM, his newest album – My Depression Is Always Trying to Kill Me – openly addresses personal struggles with depression and mental illness, in a form that is refreshingly immersive for all listeners, regardless of their personal proximity to the topic.
Grant’s career started busking on Venice Beach, with stints between NYC and LA for a few years helping earn a SXSW spot and various accolades. However, drugs, alcohol, and depression derailed his career temporarily, later emerging from a successful recovery. He elaborates on the experience:
“I’ve suffered from depression my whole life. Really can’t recall a time I haven’t been depressed, even as a kid. In more joyful moments, I was and still am aware of the specter of the disease lurking in the shadows, hovering around me and waiting to pounce at any moment. It’s an unnerving way to live. After years of painful confusion I was placed on psychiatric drugs and later diagnosed as being bipolar. I took these medications for quite some time and during the last four years of treatment was on three different psych meds per day. During this period I was also self-medicating by drinking heavily and using various street drugs as well as abusing my prescription medications.”
He continues: “I write songs to cope. I’d like to say I write songs to heal, but that may be asking too much.” Regardless, the album is certainly a pleasure to listen to, starting with the sweeping “Oceans II” – aptly titled for the aquatic-like longing synth pad and shimmering guitars. The twangy “Melancholia” is also a very memorable opener, leading toward an anthemic chorus reminiscent of Matthew Good’s electrifying alt-rock theatrics. Stream the five-track release in full below: