Verve Pipe Reaches Next Level With "Treasured" Producer

After exploding onto the music scene in 1996 with "Freshmen," a song off its second album, "Villains," the Verve Pipe has now returned with a new record and a new sound.

The Lansing, Michigan band recorded its last LP under the direction of former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison, which lent the album a certain dream-like quality, as evidenced on such tracks as "Freshmen" and "Photograph." But on the Verve Pipe's new, self-titled record, frontman Brian Vander Ark suggests that the band has made a sonically fuller record, yet with simpler, more personal lyrics.

In a recent interview with the MTV Radio Network, Vander Ark attributed much of the evolved sound to producer Michael Beinhorn, who not only handled Marilyn Manson and Hole's recent albums, but also produced Soundgarden's "Superunknown," Soul Asylum's "Grave Dancer's Union," and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Mother's Milk."

"I personally think that Michael is America's treasure

as a producer," Vander Ark explained, "but with that genius comes that eccentricity, I guess. These eccentricities [then lead] to this idiosyncratic behavior. But the entire time [you're working in the studio], you want to please him."

"He won't try and keep you down," he continued, "but you get that sense when you're in a room with him that he's smarter than you are, and that he's funnier than you are, and that he knows more about the world than you do. And that he knows more about music, and that he's a better player than you are."

"After a while,"
Vander Ark said, "you get so fed up with it... that you want to step up to his level, and you do. And I think that everybody that's worked with him can say that: that they stepped up to this level." [RealAudio]

The Verve Pipe is in the midst of winding down its current club tour

with Papa Vegas but plans to head out on tour in late July to support the new record.

"The Verve Pipe" arrives in stores on July 27.