Pared down from a duo, the California band now consists solely of: songwriter/musician Jeff Martin. Although the tempo and arrangements on This Way Out are more upbeat than before, the guitars bordering perilously close to “jangly” at times, the overall tone still broods. On the memorable “Glow” or “Sweep,” which sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a shallow well just out of reach, Martin hasn’t solved any of his emotional dilemmas ; but he’s gotten more sophisticated at articulating them. You could call him a voice of our generation, but he’d probably crack under the strain, and you’d hate yourself for destroying his precarious balance.

* K.B.R.