March 23, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 43°F


‘Anar’: Czech musician creates sweet sound

In her solo debut, “Anar,” named after the Farsi word for pomegranate, Marketa Irglova peels back layers of sound to reveal a rich style.

Before publishing the release, the 23-year-old won the Academy Award for Best Song for “Falling Slowly,” a collaborative effort with The Frames’ musician Glen Hansard that was featured in the film “Once.”   While Irglova is still a member of The Swell Season, a musical duo, her new solo album reflects stripped-down style that first brought attention to the Czech musician.

Many of the songs are simplistic with only Irglova and her piano, occasionally backed by a string or horn section. One ethereal-sounding track, “Last Fall,” is completely instrumental. Even when accompanied by lyrics, the tune is the superior part of the tracks. The words only serve to complement the wistful, contemplative melodies.

Listeners hoping for a more adventurous album will be disappointed with “Anar.” Though songs such as “Go Back” offer a more pop-influenced sound than most of Irglova’s previous work, the album does not cover much new ground. With the exception of the haunting, chanted “Dokhtar Goochani,” most of the tracks on “Anar” fit The Swell Season’s low-key style. However, the beauty of Irglova’s soft, dreamy voice along with the gorgeous piano melodies makes her first individual effort to an album worthy of mention alongside her collaborative work.

Like the fruit from which “Anar” takes its name and cover art, there are seeds full of sweetness throughout Irglova’s album.