Gap Dream AKA Gabe Fulvimar is originally from Akron, Ohio, where he played in an early incarnation of The Black Keys. Now relocated to Fullerton, California, the home of his label Burger Records, he recorded the album in Burger's vinyl warehouse, although it sounds like it was done on a four-track in his bedroom.This Is Gap Dream’s lo-fi aesthetic plays like early Sebadoh, with the chillout vibe of Air.
Following from the instrumental opening track ‘Greater Find’, the beats and synths of ‘Rock And Roll’ are very Primal Scream like. Specifically their Evil Heat era. And like Bobby Gillespie, Fulvimar’s melodies are more ambitious than his vocal abilities but he works confidently within his limitations making clever use of overdubs to create dynamic choruses and affecting harmonies.
‘College Music’ sounds like The Velvet Underground with a Lou Reed-style overdriven single-string guitar riff and a vocal straight from the late New Yorker’s playbook. Gap Dream recently recorded a full length version of ‘Sister Ray’ for a Velvet Underground tribute album and they are clearly an inspiration throughout This Is Gap Dream. The simple drum machine beats, a lone overdriven guitar, and various keyboards combine with Fulvimar’s layered vocals to lend an intimate ambience to the album. It often feels like he is singing directly to you. ‘College Music’ is less a performance and more a one-to-one communiqué in the guise of a psychedelic inspired rock and roll song.
‘24 Hour Token’ has a theme of self reflection with overtones of new sobriety, atonement and acceptance. It's an earworm of empowerment. ‘Party Foul’ continues that theme with a semi-submerged vocal under shoegazey levels of guitar, while ‘Jacky’ injects some '60s surf vibes into proceedings.
Fulvimar manages to maintain a consistent tone and feel through the album even with the great variation of the influences and sounds from one song to the next. That alone is a rare talent. To also make the tunes so immediate and catchy is further proof of his abilities. This Is Gap Dream is a solo effort but it does make you wonder what he could achieve with a full band behind him. This is the album Dandy Warhols tried to make with Distortland, but Fulvimar’s attempt is more successful and more authentic.
This Is Gap Dream isn't a perfect album. You can feel his commitment waver in the last few tracks. ‘Shy Boy’ fades out feeling unresolved. ‘Golden Shoes' overreaches and comes across like a demo from a bedroom Brian Wilson-wannabe, and the instrumental 'Judy Let Me Roam' sounds unfinished. But a couple of skippable tracks can’t ruin the vibe of This Is Gap Dream. It's unassuming, groovy, and will have you humming these tunes all day. It’s an excellent chillout album and consistently tuneful; fun and lethargic without being bummed out. Ironically, given some of the lyrics are about getting clean, This Is Gap Dream is the perfect accompaniment to a bong hit on a sunny afternoon. I imagine.