After the Ian Gillan Band started to fizzle out, vocalist Gillan and keyboard player Colin Towns decided to shorten the group's name and shift its musical approach. The newly created Gillan consisted of the ex-Deep Purple vocalist, Towns, and former Zzebra members Liam Genockey on drums, Steve Byrd on guitar, and John McCoy on bass. Their 1978 eponymous debut was distributed in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand only, then reissued with some bonus material as The Japanese Album by RPM records in 1993, and again on the Purple label in 1999. These offerings also share a few tracks with the 1979 U.K. debut, Mr. Universe. There were, of course, several membership changes to confuse things even further while the band attempted to establish creative momentum. One interesting fact: Genockey is credited on the original release, but replacement Pete Barnacle is listed as the drummer of record on The Japanese Album. Another lineup overhaul was necessary before Gillan could produce its most successful effort by far, 1980's Glory Road. Despite all this activity, Gillan is still a minor excursion in the career journey of the Deep Purple vocalist. And The Japanese Album is a lesser work from the band that bore his name. Gillan's voice is refined, but isn't put to good use on ballads like "Fighting Man." There are some good moments on "Secret of the Dance" and a few others, but The Japanese Album is generally an unfocused affair. Only Gillan fanatics and collectors should concern themselves with this reissue.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson