As Robert Pollard’s right-hand man for nearly a decade, Doug Gillard brought guitar power and flash to the warped anthems of Guided by Voices. There’s little of either on “Parade On,” his third solo album since the band’s 2004 retirement. (It has since reactivated with an earlier, Gillard-less lineup.) Playing everything but drums and singing in a voice that’s the epitome of nondescript, Gillard dutifully runs through his slight tunes, giving them the vaguely blurry flatness of a collection of demos. Neither Gillard’s pop instincts nor his lyrical inspiration are as sharp as his former partnerss, resulting in plenty of filler like the chug of “On Target” and the sub-Elliott Smith mope “I Shalt Not Want.” A few songs hint at greater possibilities: The quasi-motorik “Overseas” churns up a nice head of post-punk steam, and “Oh My Little Girl” could be a power-pop gem if it weren’t so casually recorded. But not one of them wouldn’t instantly benefit from the strength of a full band, a real singer, and an attentive producer behind them. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Overseas”Marc Hirsh can be reached at email@example.com.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly referred to two song titles. The correct title name are “On Target” and “I Shalt Not Want.”