Mary Lattimore Is a Singular Force on the Mesmerizing 'Goodbye, Hotel Arkada'

Exclaim! Staff Picks

BY Kaelen BellPublished Oct 6, 2023

I made the mistake of starting my day with Drake's For All the Dogs, so hitting play on Mary Lattimore's Goodbye, Hotel Arkada felt like resuscitation. Each song on Lattimore's fifth album feels like cold water to the face or gentle rainfall, heavy seaside air or a great expanse of ice — it's a replenishing listen, the kind of record that keeps you hydrated and alert. The Los Angeles-based harpist has rarely sounded so dynamic, awash in drone, synth, voice, guitar and accordion provided by a host of collaborators. But even as she adds new layers of sound atop her crystalline playing, it's the clarity of Lattimore's vision that defines these songs; her music is more expansive and collaborative than ever, but it's never been more singular. 

Lattimore's songs have always played with an onomatopoeic specificity, but "Horses, Glossy on the Hill" might be her most engulfing creation to date, playing behind your eyelids like a short film; shining coats that shudder against landing flies, light coming from unnatural angles between the trees, sinewy legs slowly climbing the slope. Goodbye, Hotel Arkada feels altogether more bittersweet than 2020's Silver Ladders, though it finds a strange sense of closure in final track "Yesterday's Parties." Floating away on a cloud of voice from Rachel Goswell and Samara Lubelski, the song sees Lattimore take off slowly into the night — she leaves some things behind, eyes trained on what lies ahead. 

(Ghostly International)

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