James Husband A Parallax I

James Husband A Parallax I

Like his day-job band (of Montreal), James Husband's solo work shows off an affinity for poppy hooks, albeit without any out-there/glam sojourns. And therein is A Parallax I's chief problem: it's a pleasant, often-shiny record that's never particularly challenging or memorable. In the past, Husband has covered the Beatles; here, the Fab Four turn up occasionally (especially on "Take the Train") and most catchiness comes via a '60s filter of some sort. Still, contemporary pop touchstones abound, from the Shins ("Elephant Alibi") to A.C. Newman ("Window"). Husband's favourite trick is swaddling familiar tropes in vague experimentation: an alarm clock bookends the Spanish guitar on "Waiting on Rayne"; a denied collect call precedes the finger-picking of "The Darkestness"; and album highlight "Greyscale" matches acoustic strums and infectious vocals with a space-scape backdrop. A Parallax I is perpetually personable and often fun, though not particularly remarkable. (Polyvinyl)