Gal Gracen defies easy categorization

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      Gal Gracen
      Fantasy Gardens (JAZ)

      Gal Gracen just became Twitter-famous, but not for its own music. Last week, the Vancouver musical project (the brainchild of Patrick Geraghty) tweeted out a video of a record on a turntable, along with the message: “This is absolutely the worst solo i have ever heard by any instrument.” The solo in question comes from an alternate take of “The Jones Girl”, a 1956 doo-wop single by the Five Satins, and consists of a saxophone honking out the same note repeatedly over the course of about 30 seconds.

      Geraghty’s September 24 tweet has, as of press time, been liked over 166,500 times and has been retweeted almost 36,000 times. (The counter on the video shows more than four million views.) The AV Club even made a news item out of it, which shows just how much interest there is in bad sax playing.

      Fortuitously, there is a brand-new Gal Gracen album out, which Geraghty, naturally, took all this Twitter attention as an opportunity to plug. Fantasy Gardens also has saxophone on it, but that’s where any comparisons with “The Jones Girl” must end. This isn’t a doo-wop record by any stretch of the imagination. What sort of record it is, though, is hard to pin down.

      One of the sax-featuring tracks, “Winds of Solace, Pillars of Sand”, is an instrumental that floats along in an oddly serene fashion, but in an unresolved sort of way, like a lost outtake from the score of Twin Peaks. Elsewhere, “Grass Mask” foregrounds twangy guitar for Maui-sunset vibes, and “Today or Tomorrow” is a loungetastic soul-pop anthem for the young urban sophisticates of Alpha Centauri, while the harp and synth tones of “Is It Alive?” suggest that trying to categorize it at all is a fool’s errand.

      If your Spotify playlists are populated by fringe-dwelling art-pop weirdos like the Legendary Pink Dots, Magnetic Fields, and Television Personalities, you’ll probably get where Geraghty is coming from. And if you’re still unsure, you can make up your mind in person when Gal Gracen plays the Biltmore on Thursday (October 3).