Goodbye Hotel Arkada by Marry Lattimore album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions. The LP is now out via Ghostly International


Goodbye, Hotel Arkada

Mary Lattimore

From songs about her childhood and when she won a radio contest and got to go to Sesame Street LIVE! and get a hug from Big Bird backstage (“And Then He Wrapped His Wings Around Me,”) to songs inspired by the Tik Tok trend of teenagers putting things in blenders and the humorous “meta” imagination of “Blender in a Blender”, to the galloping of “Horses, Glossy on the Hill,” Mary Lattimore uses her harp and a collection of impressive collaborators to evoke humor, pathos, memory, and desire.

She has worked with dozens of indie rock musicians in the past, including Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, her old hometown, Philly’s Kurt Vile, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. And on this record, she teams up with the Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, guitarist Roy Montgomery, and singers Meg Baird and Rachel Goswell. Some of the song’s, like “Music for Applying Shimmering Eye Shadow,” are simple, meditative works, to capture a certain feeling, like pre-show in the “green room”. And others, like the final track on the record, “Yesterday’s Parties,” are what we’ve come to expect from harp music: beautiful arpeggios, evocative, otherworldly chimes that make you think of Cupid or the Renaissance.

What she lacks sometimes in melodic adventurousness on this album, she effortlessly makes up for in compelling backstory and imaginative titling. Like the title of the record, Goodbye, Hotel Arkada, a tourist destination on the island of Hvar in Croatia, a well-worn place with patinaed chandeliers and patterned bed spreads, that was soon to be renovated after her visit. Her friend who she was visiting with told her to say “goodbye,” since it would likely never be the same.

It, like many songs on the record, like the ephemeral notes of the harp, are celebrations and rumination upon the beautiful but transitory nature of life. Instrumental music (including wordless melodies, some of the only recordings that Lattimore has incorporated actual vocalists) is rife for personal association, and if you don’t know her stories, you will almost certainly have your own links to real life and your own memory, in listening. Not every song grabbed my imagination immediately, however, or lived up to their interesting back stories. You get the feeling like Lattimore feels that she is communicating more and going farther than the music is really willing to travel. The range that she gets out of the harp, a difficult instrument to compose with, I imagine, is still worthy of a serious listen.

Order by Goodbye, Hotel Arkada Mary Lattimore HERE


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