Bob Gaulke / Robert C Gaulke
New York-based poet and musician Bob Gaulke is a prolific force. I loved his Transportation album of less than a couple of years ago – and now, already, he’s followed it with Obsessives – a mini-album really, 8 songs, 22 minutes (as I like to say, EP-length but LP-quality).
I hear a touch of 80s Lou Reed to his voice (Questionnaire) and a nice line in Tropicalia-infused adult pop music (Traffic Islands). Here he has a couple of guest vocalists to assist him in writing for different voices than his own. Opener, Greatness, features Vivian Benford and Peri Mason doing their read on a Wendy & Lisa vibe over slinky saxes (Matt Carrillo) and Gaulke’s own warm, empathetic, guiding bass. Emilia Cataldo also assists with lead vocals on the title track and harmonies for Traffic Islands.
Where this album really succeeds is in the lounge-y feels (Ohmyfatherfatherfather) where a samba sway is conveyed across the meter of a pop song; the integration of ideas is seamless, never jarring.
Gil Oliveira and Kevin Gerovich’s subtle, controlled drumming sets up the framework for the waft of Carrillo’s saxophones (My Favela is a standout) and some of the more ‘pop’ music shapes take me back to the music Laurie Anderson was making in the 1980s (Excellent Birds).
This is yet another charming, intriguing set of songs from a restless creative spirit.