Marketa Irglova: Anar


Now that the whirlwind in recent years that has been the film (Once), the band (The Swell Season) and an award (Oscar for “Falling Slowly”) has concluded, singer Marketa Irglova has branched out on her own. The personal relationship with Glen Hansard now off in the distance but the professional one still ongoing, Irglova has finally gotten around to recording her debut solo album. And it is as haunting, brilliant and spine-tingling as anything she did before in the other group.

Irglova knows how soft can be stellar on the opening number “Your Company,” a tune that instantly evokes images of Emmylou Harris performing as her pipes are equally strong and delicate when required. “We Are Good” is more up-tempo and poppy but loses none of its punch with Irglova working off a piano melody. Throughout it all she walks the tightrope between folk and Imogen Heap-like ethereal sinfully easily. 

Of the dozen tunes, Irglova definitely comes to life on the magical, country-tinged waltz “Divine Timing” which seems to glide and then soar. For example, “Go Back” brings to mind a cross of Dolly Parton and Norah Jones as the horn-led chorus beefs up the nugget. She also throws in a Persian folk song “Dokhtar Goochani”

Whether it’s a tender, gentle cut like “Crossroads” or the ensuing string-accented “Wings Of Desire,” Irglova treads down the same heart-tugging path but without any sense of boredom or repetition setting in for the listener. Not with that voice at least! The only downside might be some songs like “Only In Your Head” has her basically speaking the lyrics and not performing them. Thankfully “Let Me Fall In Love” atones for this later on near the homestretch.

While some may have thought Irglova was hanging on to Hansard’s coattails when The Swell Season first began, this record proves she can clearly hold her own, thank you very much. Rarely has a debut been this consistent and impressive.

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