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vee device

Out of the Darkness is one of a kind -- an acoustic-folk concept album about the power-grid failure in the Northeast last year. (Why on earth a group from Fort Collins would feel compelled to tackle such a topic is a bigger mystery than the blackout itself.) In the end, the four players in vee -- Sam Ernst, G-Man (Grant Gordy), Deej (Daniel Johnson) and Dre (Andrea Vitullo) -- aren't quite able to turn their idiosyncratic notion into a cogent narrative, but they score marks for sheer oversized ambition.

The playing is first-rate throughout, and instrumental cuts such as "The Hours, They Seem an Eternity" and a disorderly collage dubbed "As the Lights Go, So Too Do We" radiate atmosphere. The lyrics of several tracks intrigue as well, including "The Dream," a fantasia that incorporates Alanis Morissette and Bell Biv DeVoe, and a song that's called "Winston Churchill" for reasons too complicated to relate. Other cuts, like "Sing Me to Sleep," are more straightforward -- and less interesting as a result.

There's no telling what all of this means, but the sparks provided by vee device occasionally light up the Darkness.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts