Anar by Marketa Irglova (ANTI-, 2011. 49 minutes)
Marketa Irglova is a Czech singer-songwriter, noted for her work with Glen Hansard, The Frames, as well as The Swell Season. She also co-starred with Hansard on the independent movie Once.
Pomegranates and Music
Anar is the Persian word for pomegranate, a most appropriate title for Irglova’s first solo record. Much like eating a pomegranate, you have to sit down and scour the entire album to pull out the edible seeds of concentrated flavor and goodness. It takes time for the emotional depth of the album to sink in.
The penultimate track, “Dokhtar Goochani”, is a slowed-down Iranian song, undoubtedly influenced from Aida Shahghasemi, an Iranian drummer and vocalist who contributes on the album. The gentle piano and vocals intertwined against the Iranian drums make this song absolutely daunting. Irgolova manages to add amazing countermelodies on the piano against her beautiful singing.
We Are Good
My favorite track, however, is “We Are Good”. I heard her play it in concert with Shahghasemi, who is, to say the least, absolutely mesmerizing live. It’s an ethereal song with intricate textures that make one want to go curl up by a fireplace somewhere and just think about life.
Another track worthy of mention is Crossroads; it has a breathtaking piano intro and syncopated eight time signature, as well as some intricate piano themes. It’s darkly convicting and haunting.
“It remains to be seen to which side I’m going to lean / Which road will I choose? What will I gain? What will I lose?”
With this song, Marketa emotionally dives inward. She asks introspective questions, and poses them in a striking way in which only the most sensitive of songwriters could find success.