Shine Your Light
Ohio-based Gap Dream doesn't slow down much. Just a year after their first album, the group is back with a follow up to 2012’s fuzzy self-titled debut. Led by Gabe Fulvimar (with a little help from Conspiracy of Owls’ Bobby Harlow), the project sets its sights on combining electro-pop buzz and indie psychedelia into an easily digestible pop/rock package. Fulvimar was a prominent member of the Akron music scene throughout the early 2000s, making critically acclaimed pop music with Houseguest and working closely with Akron’s garage-rock sweethearts, The Black Keys, among others. Beginning his work with Gap Dream in 2010, Fulvimar was quickly discovered by Burger Records, who released his debut via cassette in 2012 and gave him a slot in the SXSW festival later that year. Now based in California, Gap Dream has continued his work with Burger Records, including their production of his new full-length Shine Your Light.
The album begins with electronic beeps that seem to foreshadow the battle between mechanical noise and Strokes-y electric guitar strumming that make up the majority of the album. The bright psych-pop track “Shine Your Light” is hypnotic and sweet, featuring tight harmonies and dreamy chimes, while “Love Is Not Allowed” displays Fulvimar’s taste for loud, in-your-face synths as robotic vocal effects consume his voice. The song also exemplifies the slightly heartbroken tone of the album, but insists that you “Allow your heart to chase the dark away.” The moments that Fulvimar lets the ice thaw are few and far between, but most would say that makes for the best music anyway. “Fantastic Sam,” another standout, includes buzzy vocals that cut into your consciousness like fluorescent lighting—Fulvimar has a gift for coaxing his audience into electronically induced trances. The electric shredding mixes well with his percussive synthesizers on the bummed-out “There’s Blood On the Stone,” which sounds like the forgotten robot lovechild of Kurt Vile and Julian Casablancas. The brilliant album namesake “Shine Your Love,” on the other hand, begins with electronic horns that wouldn’t be out of place on a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, before segueing into an excellent jam. This track, along with the droning “Snow Your Mind,” gives glimpses Fulvimar’s well-established indie rock roots. Finishing off the album, hazy and weird closer “Come Home” sounds like stripped-down Tame Impala track, proving Fulvimar’s association with the thriving psych-rock scene.
Unfortunately, at this point there is no tour scheduled for Gap Dream. He will, however, be making an appearance at the 2014 Austin Psych Fest alongside the Black Lips, Of Montreal, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra among other psychedelic innovators. Gap Dream sets the bar for being just weird enough to make easily accessible, yet highly innovative psych-pop episodes that could attract a wide range of indie-rock elitists or even the average Radio K listener. It’s an ever-expanding psych-rock scene out there, but Gap Dream has more than proven with this album that they're an important piece of it.