[13 August 2009]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Aside from his indispensable role in later-era Guided by Voices, Doug Gillard has worked with the likes of Richard Buckner and recently, the Oranges Band, leaving an indelible mark as a guitar player on some great records. But on Call From Restricted, he sets out to prove he is a solid songwriter and performer as well, and he does so successfully. This is the kind of consistent and solidly built indie rock record that doesn’t seem to come around as much these days. From the thick bed of guitars and lilting melodies of “Time is Nigh” or the infectious power-pop of “For What I’ve Done” and even the sweet balladry of “Gibraltar”—each sound on this album finds Gillard firmly in control. His voice, part low sweetness and part hushed confession, invites you into each of these songs, and his tight compositions keep you there, whether it’s to dance along with the rockers or to hang your head in empathy at the guitar work on “Love, Blinding Love”. There may not be the one or two knockout punches on here to put Call From Restricted over the top, but this kind of consistency is something worthy of plenty of recognition and makes for one of the most solid and quietly confident 45 minutes of rock music you’re likely to come across.