Leading up to their debut, self-titled album release in October of 2015, you could find The Crooked Vines performing throughout New Orleans in various small venues. Their freshman effort appeared with a fresh new sound, and although it lacked big studio publicity, it displayed a birth of artistic brilliance that was welcomed by a small-but-growing fan base.
Their sophomore effort, Alive, was partly funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, and as a result the band was able to take a new approach to the creative process: every member made contributions both large and small to the composition, arrangement, and studio production of the new songs. This album is rich with musical diversity. The lyrics run the full gamut of emotions and topics that touch many relatable nerves in the human experience, while the music spans a wide range of moods and sounds. Thought-provoking narratives move through hope, fierce independence, optimism (tempered by disappointment), acceptance of reality, lessons learned, and nostalgic looks back at former relationships. A theme of personal growth that weaves through many of the tracks seems to echo TCVs own growth between albums and their musical transformation.
Perhaps no number better exemplifies that transformation than “Who To Be.” With an intro and fade-out that sound like a scratchy old vinyl record, it carries the listener on a journey from youthful self-doubt to mature self-confidence, with a beguiling score that instantly gets under your skin and draws you back for repeat listens. An ethereal instrumental segment is worthy of its own track, sending tingles up the spine with eerie horn lines and a “spirit-world” vocal moment. Just when you think this number can’t get any better, a rap segment (written and performed by Evan Thibodeaux) adds a new layer. His continued commentary through the balance of the number brings a male voice that plays off lead singer Mikayla Braun’s for an energetic exchange. The pace shifts upward yet again into a confident stride in the wrap-up, reflecting the storyteller’s newfound self assurance.
The first single, also the title track, “Alive” ponders the individual determination to rise above the dreary sea of workday conformity. It previews the wider-ranging musical tone of the album, and a screaming guitar solo by George Wilde (Sexual Thunder) infuses the track with even more energy.
Alive is scheduled to be released November 10th 2017 on all major platforms.
The Crooked Vines will host an album release party at The Howlin’ Wolf New Orleans on Thursday 11/9 supported by Aaron Benjamin and Kathryn Rose Wood. The full project is available for pre-order now via iTunes, and will release on all major platforms on Friday 11/10. For more information find The Crooked Vines on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit their website at www.TheCrookedVines.com