Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Mary Lattimore is an American harpist who has played with the likes of Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile. On this album, she has teamed up with Slowdive guitarist Neil Halstead. The opener Pine Trees sets the tone, a gentle, harp piece with keyboard embellishments. The title track meanders pleasantly, building on the previous track without really going anywhere. But it’s the third track, Til A Mermaid Drags You Under where the meat of the album really begins. Starting with a sparse repeating harp pattern, joined by Halstead’s heavily treated guitar chiming away, it shoots for the territory occupied by Eno at his most melodic, hitting it square in the middle. The hypnotic layers of music stretch out for 10 minutes, allowing you to drift into oblivion.
Sometimes He’s In My Dreams opens with a high-pitched harp, before being joined by a soaring guitar part which has all the hallmarks of some of Durutti Column’s best work. The brooding Chop on the Climbout (what?) leans more heavily on keyboards than anything else here, joined by an oddly soothing machine drone halfway through, transforming into something of a wintry gale before the tracks ends. Don’t Look has more echoey guitars joining the celestial harp which drifts along agreeably for eight minutes or so. Perhaps the most fully realised track is the final one, Thirty Tulips, swelling keyboards bringing it from cinematic sweep to a zen ending.
A slippery bastard of an album, you’ll find yourself loving it and not really understanding why. It’s very calm and delicate, yet it’s an album to get utterly, utterly lost in. Strongly prescribed for these uncertain times.
1. Pine Trees
2. Silver Ladders
3. Til A Mermaid Drags You Under
4. Sometimes He’s In My Dreams’
5. Chop on the Climbout
6. Don’t Look
7. Thirty Tulips