In what was clearly a diligent journey of studying composition, something Mary Lattimore probably learned is that a “song” isn’t something that usually exists in classical music. See, a pop tune is generally lyric heavy, and you won’t find any words across Hundreds of Days’ looping textures. Often the slate is so blank that Lattimore’s gives the mind total freedom to drift. Instead of songs, she constructs pieces where simple arpeggio sketches turn into ancient stories. It’s a journey you’ll be happy to have Lattimore helming as you float along.
Wherever the harps, keyboards, and electronics take you, your mind’s eye tends to glimpse a natural scene. Four of the six tracks featured contain positive connotations of this setting. 'Never Saw Him Again' has a novelistic character. Although someone is gone, there is still a story to be told between the notes, and each kick-snare sounds each mark a new point in the story. Like the rest of the tracks, the albums title here holds a lot of weight. Although there’s a lot of repetition in the score, these are timeless tales and inspirations unfolding that could take hundreds of days to describe.
On the brief 'Their Faces Streaked With Light And Filled With Pity', Lattimore adds darker tones to what’s by and large a very uplifting record. Forlorn guitar strumming provides the environment, and the album’s busiest harp melodies wind around it. Much like the way Josef van Wissem uses the lute’s antique characteristics to underscore drama, this song hints at deeper concerns than you’d find yourself facing across the rest of the album.
It’s in this way that Hundreds of Days becomes tiresome. On too many passages, Lattimore sticks closely to a pleasant and happy formula. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing. You get to spend quality time with each arpeggio, so much so that each little modification becomes precious. However, there’s merely six pieces here (and one lovely bonus cut), and over half the record is spent exploring similar ideas. For those of us who wanted more of the form present on last year’s lovely 'Wawa by the Ocean', there’s plenty to love on this album. However, once you get the gist of the idea, Hundreds of Days gets dull.
Invite the pieces into your mind without thinking too hard, and this record could be exactly what you need: a serene journey through all that’s possible using minimal instrumentation. Follow Lattimore further into the rabbit hole, and the piano solos toward the end of 'On The Day You Saw The Dead Whale' will greet you with aplomb. Still, most impactful is Lattimore’s ability to tell stories with wordlessness. Having recently moved to LA and read Michael Nesmith’s memoir, there’s plenty of fodder for inspiration. Hundreds of Days is as charming as a novel unravelling a story, but it’s all over in what feels like the blink of an eye.