A Gap Between: Summer Nightrunner
Nueva Forma

Whether by accident or design, A Gap Between's Summer Nightrunner invites reference to Winding Refn's 2011 film Drive in a couple of ways: the album's retro-neon cover image first of all, but more importantly the retro ‘80s-styled electro-pop aura that emanates off of some of its songs. If you're familiar with the Drive soundtrack and specifically Kavinsky's “Nightcall” and College's “A Real Hero,” the chillwave vibe and nostalgic feel are connections shared by the projects that are hard to miss; in fact, with its hazy analog synths and breathy vocal, Summer Nightrunner's quietly seductive title track would have been a perfect fit for the soundtrack.

Which is not to suggest either that that's all Summer Nightrunner amounts to: certainly the luscious opener “Ombré Haze” ushers in an ocean's wave of synth washes and ‘80s electronic snares and “Bonfire” aptly evokes the image of teenagers gathering at the beach on a late summer's night, but “Glamour City,” its slinky hip-hop groove peppered with cheeky dance step instructions, and the Dilla-meets-Boards of Canada jams “Solar Powered” and “Loved You The Most” have as much to do with boom-bap as chillwave.

Whether packaged in instrumental (“Blaster”) or vocal form (“Neon Signs”), it's glorious stuff, and no persuasion at all is needed for the listener to surrender to Summer Nightrunner's low-slung bass lines, neon-lit synths, and ethereal vocals. The ten-track album's lean running time—twenty-seven minutes—can be seen as a handicap or strength, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, it definitely leaves you wanting more, but there's also something to be said for brevity.

May 2014