Album Review: Anya Baghina – Anya Baghina

Anya Baghina is a Russian-born artist who has just caught my attention thanks to her striking new self-titled album.

By Graeme Smith

Anya lived in Russia until the age of ten when she relocated to the US. She lived in various US cities until returning to Russia in 2020. Due to Putin’s war in Ukraine, she relocated again last year, this time to Kazakhstan where she lives in hope of being reunited with her family members in Russia and Ukraine.

None of this has prevented her from pulling together this cracking album, on which she worked with Brooklyn-based Jonathan Franco. A former Soviet Girls bandmate, the two collaborated remotely during the pandemic, with Jonathan building arrangements and recording instrumentals while Anya laid down vocals and guitar. Lucas Knapp then became involved for the mixing.

Anya Baghina is a sonic soundscape of an album. The droning tones and isolated vocals of Wish For Nothing opens it, drawing you into a world that is rich in emotion and wonder. Not That Important takes things into a jangly, acoustic and cathartic direction before For Now rounds off the early listening with a heart-breaking moment of soft rock.

Carpet is a raw and vulnerable vignette with lyrics that paint a picture and pleasing electronic textures. It’s Clear To Me ups the tempo while not losing any depth of emotion before I Just Can’t Feel (Like You) slows things down again, and gives us some captivating vocals layers. With Me is rich with longing that transforms from emotional low point to a vibrant moment of hope. It’s a highlight.

Waiting is a modern alternative folk ballad while Beyond is an intimate and experimental electro-acoustic moment. There’s No Stopping You is string-filled and full of lyrical healing before album closer How Do You Do It leaves it all out there. It’s a powerful and confessional track that proves to be another highlight.

The sonic journey on which Anya Baghina takes you is nothing short of stunning. There’s a musical surprise with each new track but the collection hangs together nicely by its emotional threads. This album is a must listen and you can do so below.