Gal Musette: Backwards Lullaby

I’ve been sleeping in reverse lately but that’s alright because the debut LP Backwards Lullaby by San Clemente native Gal Musette is a charming obscurity amongst the contemporary trends of SoCal music today.

Grace Freeman, the artist behind Gal Musette, has been performing in her hometown from the age of ten, and has since attracted the attention of names like The Magnetic Fields, Donavon Frankenreiter, and Grammy award-winner, Rufus Wainwright, the latter of which performed backing vocals on the initial track “Oliver.” The album also features Coma Culture and was featured on KCRW’s “Today’s Top Tune” earlier this month.

The style on this album, it’s fair to say, falls somewhere into the “haunted wine-drunk” area of the “baroque-pop” genre. Gal Musette approaches a style with a notably timeless quality and sureness in it’s execution. The instrumentations, lyrics, and rhythm all pique aesthetically toward the driving vision behind the song, cultivating the sense that nothing more should be added or altered. Despite this quality though, the music is perhaps “academic” at times and can feel too much focus is lent toward the execution at the cost of authenticity. This may only be a matter of taste though.

The album’s tonal themes are consistently subtle, moving its audience just a way toward delight; evoking enchanting, mysterious, and romantic qualities. At times it may feel like something out of a Wes Anderson film; the track “Julia,” for example, captures this quality exactly. These musical twists are mastered well but given the audience and the niche, the tracks stand a lot to gain from extra care to display the subtleties in the instruments, whether in the emulated tracks or the recording, and render a more distinct quality of depth to the music. Aside from this nitpick, the album is quite clean and carefully composed, and the “baroque” influences are taken in an interestingly classical direction which isn’t necessarily expected from the baroque-pop genre.

It’s clear Ms. Freeman and her project Gal Musette will be one to watch. The melodies and message are doubtlessly enjoyable. The music would especially be a treat suited for quaint and intimate venues, so keep an eye out for shows and tours.

Rating: 7.8/10

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