Vee Device – Autobiography of a Dying Band

Vee Device
Autobiography of a Dying Band

Vee Device truly defies simple genre labels. A band that, on the surface, appears to be a bluegrass-tinged pop band can rip out country numbers, moody roots rockers, folk-like tracks, and mixtures of everything. That makes these songs intriguing: you never know what comes next and how the band is going to approach a song.

What I like about Vee Device is not just the songs themselves, which are well focused and immediately endearing, but how the band fills an album. With 20 tracks on this album, you have short musical interludes, little bits of studio playing around to introduce a track, and even some talk between the musicians as they recorded the songs. These things do break up the flow of an album, but they’re short and painless, and they help spice up this eclectic release.

The songs themselves play like stories, which may be expected from a band whose first album was a concept album about the massive northeast blackout that hit us a few years back. Singer Vee (all three Colorado residents in the band have odd names) spins his lyrics over haunting cello, banjo or guitar, and other assorted instruments. The songs take a haunting feel at times, such as “Dreams on the Floor (Passacaglia),” and at others pick up the pace and the beat and rock, like the very poppy and fun “Ghosts in the Glass.” You get some upbeat plucking over a fiddle on “Sweepin’ the Chimney” and some playful instrumentation on the teasingly eerie “Abductalized.” And for those who like the old-time feel of the bluegrass influences here, check out the phonograph-sounding effect at the beginning of the mellow and slightly groovy “The Doughboy & the Spike” or maybe the bouncy, carnivale-styled romp to “Wind Over Yokohama Bay.”

The end result, after completing the last track, is that you were just told a story, perhaps one spun over bluegrass- and country-tinged rock. The story is personal and intriguing, mixing hope and despair, but it ends up being a fun experience. Few bands manage to convey the storytelling in songwriting so well and with such an eclectic nature, but Vee Device is talented enough to pull it off easily.