Michael Been's music is personal...intensely personal with an exploratory edge. It's intelligent without being pretentious or coldly cerebral; emotional, but artistic with spiritual overtones. His former band The Call created music that was driving and rhythmically oriented; subject-wise, their songs were full of gripping and gritty images of conflict, compelling portraits of cataclysm and deliverance, making their music genuinely provocative.
Now, unfortunately for the group of discriminating fans that held The Call's music in high regard, the band as a band no longer exists. With eight albums to their credit-such as their unacknowledged masterpiece Modern Romans (a hard-hitting raw musical essay of singular power concerning the spirit-numbing violence of contemporary culture), Reconciled (an album chock-full of potential radio songs left inexplicably unreleased as singles by their record company), the hauntingly introspective Into the Woods, and the sparkling Let the Day Begin showcasing a variety of musical moods-The Call as a band will be sorely missed.
Fortunately for The Call's fans, lead singer and songwriter Michael Been is continuing his music career as a solo artist. Two members from his former band-drummer Scott Musick and guitarist Tom Ferrier-are continuing their musical association. Both are featured on Been's new solo release On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthroughand played on the accompanying tour.
With the addition of guitarist Ralph Patlan, On the Verge takes on a predominantly heavy guitar sound. Except for the undifferentiated grunge of "In My Head" (which doesn't really seem to put the song across in an interesting way musically), the new guitar lineup seems to pay off with a lot of new vitality.
The opener chugger "Us" sets the mood for a series of hammering rockers with its keening guitar volley and tense rhythmic guitar intercutting. The musicians really let loose with an all-out