Mary Lattimore


Each new album that arrives from harpist Mary Lattimore is a more gorgeous exploration of sound than the last. Lattimore’s work has the quality of soundtracks to forgotten films buried in the earth — wordless, imaginary flickers of celluloid that may or may not have existed but break our hearts all the same. With a low hum of synth, teardrops of guitar, and her shimmering harp work the songs on Silver Ladders hold the listener captive within the snowglobe sanctuary of its runtime. There’s a feeling of water all around the album, a glinting off of waves that recedes to the blue line where the water drops off and pulls deep. The songs swing from delicate to ominous over the course of the LP. As we progress the water’s gone from pleasure to peril — inviting us in with its azure hues and innocent glint of sunlight, but revealing a hungry pull towards dangerous depths.

To construct the works on Silver Ladders, Mary reached out on a whim to Slowdive’s Neil Halstead. He agreed to produce and over nine days at his airfield studio they worked through her songs to build an album that’s enveloping but also a bit more spare than some of her past works. Halstead adds guitar to several tracks, and his aqueous lines only add to the sense of submersion into the harrowing depths of Lattimore’s compositions. This is especially true on standouts “Don’t Look,” and “Sometimes He’s In My Dreams,” both of which feel like they’re turning points from serene to sinister. Lattimore has remained one of the most consummate and sought after collaborators of late, often elevating an album with her intuitive playing, but here, on her own works she proves that when she’s at the helm the harp becomes more than shading, it’s an entrancing force.

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