Vince Kane has a lot to prove. He’s been floating around the Richmond scene for a few years as a solo act, waltzing into tiny bars and clubs with a guitar and a fancy suit, but now he’s making the rounds with a full-time drummer and bassist. As a complete band–now under the moniker Vince Kane & the Incurables–Kane’s formal dress code has extended to drummer Ryan Scott and bassist Garreth Foard, and his penchant for Ziggy Stardust theatrics is now more dramatic and explosive than ever.
Vince Kane & The Incurables – A New Concrete (Crow Call Music)
Vince Kane has a lot to prove. He’s been floating around the Richmond scene for a few years as a solo act, waltzing into tiny bars and clubs with a guitar and a fancy suit, but now he’s making the rounds with a full-time drummer and bassist. As a complete band–now under the moniker Vince Kane & the Incurables–Kane’s formal dress code has extended to drummer Ryan Scott and bassist Garreth Foard, and his penchant for Ziggy Stardust theatrics is now more dramatic and explosive than ever. Unlike some of the grungy punk bands that might climb up on stage in Richmond or the mousy five-piece acts with brass and keys, Vince Kane & the Incurables look totally unlike how they sound, which is part of their appeal. Their music is full of surprises, of sharp left turns and drastic tears in style and mood, and their debut, A New Concrete, manages to capture this and bottle it in a brief yet compelling record.
In my book, the definition of “audacious” is for a band as young as Vince Kane & the Incurables to open their first album with a dance track. The intro “Despair” is a thorny, funky stomper with winding guitars and a monster of a chorus. It’s followed by the lush ballad “Brooklyn Seattle,” a yearning moan of a song where Vince Kane pines for two of America’s most famous hotbeds of indie stardom. As the record unfurls (in the form of a concept album, no less), Kane crosses sonic styles a dozen times to spectacular effect. He marries the intimate lyricism of “Ring” with the subtle heartbeat of a muffled kick drum, and drains the skeletal closer “Awake” dry enough to have caught Kurt Cobain’s ear. In a clever moment, he feeds the lyrics “and all the men call after him” in “Music Seeping Out From the Avenue” through a wall of distinct vocals. To assume that Vince Kane’s debut merely oscillates between the hypnotic psychedelia of “Lilacs” and the dense crunch of “Save Yourself” and “Afraid” would sell short the sheer variety of sounds here. A New Concrete is cleverly produced, with an impressive amount of attention lent to the subtlest of details.
It is worth noting that on this first official release, Vince Kane & the Incurables is a solo affair. The disconnect may seem disingenuous on paper, but it’s all an illusion; Vince Kane is as enchanting on record as his full band is live. Lacking the excellent performances of his bandmates, Scott and Foard, is unfortunate–as the three-piece puts on some of the most energetic performances in the city–but it’s hardly a setback. While the record does miss the spontaneity and rogue energy of a live Incurables show, Kane makes up for its lack of teeth with full-blooded vocals and careful songwriting. I could argue that A New Concrete is more “cerebral” and the group’s live work more “physical,” but that would excuse the disconnect. As the band grows, hopefully that gap can be sewn shut, as the interplay and synchronicity among the three musicians in the band is a large part of their appeal.
In the opening track, Vince Kane hollers, “Why do I feel this despair? / Can any of you even hear me?” Ironically, this expression of frustration and rejection does little to drag A New Concrete down in tone or pace. Instead of lamenting his struggle to be heard, he pounds his fists against the glass and plays louder than anyone’s ever expected.
Vince Kane & The Incurables will perform Friday, February 27 at The National, joined by Merrin Karas, Red & The Romantics, and The Audyssey. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance/$12 day of show, and can be purchased HERE.