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Snail Mail - Lush (Album Review)

Thursday, 21 June 2018 Written by Helen Payne

The artwork for Snail Mail’s debut album, ‘Lush’, depicts Lindsay Jordan, the driving force behind the band, staring blankly into space. In fact, all accompanying images of her in the press have the same countenance: hazy, bored, detached.

When she performs - a tiny human with audience-silencing presence and awe-inspiring guitar skills - she sometimes has that same look. But the suggestion that Jordan is disinterested isn’t accurate. It’s actually quite the opposite. 

Through her lyrics, Jordan proves to be someone who feels her emotions deeply and wholly. Things hit her hard, and she’s had a lot of shit to deal with already, despite having just turned 19.

Teenage heartache is rough and listening to this album takes you back to those high school crushes that, though devastating at the time, are eventually remembered with a glistening sense of nostalgia.

“I’ll never love anyone else,” she snarls on the lead single, Pristine. It’s difficult to tell whether this is asserted sincerely, or as a cynical way to jab at others her age - after all, when you’re 18, a break-up really does feel like the end of the world.

On the other hand, childish but endearing phrases like “anyways”, and heading out to “the same party every weekend” draw attention to her youth, while the joyful, summery guitar rhythms, and a leaping vocal melody that explores her range without showing off, suggest Jordan recognises that she’s just getting started. She embraces the feeling and revels in the intensity of her emotions, even as she’s aware that it's a fallacy. Pretty grown up for a teenager.

While Pristine is a great track, it sounds very similar to the others gathered here. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is easy to zone out due to the similarities between Golden Dream and Full Control: these are mid-tempo indie-rock songs full of vibrant guitar tones, simple structures and verses that go on too long.

The stand out track, Let’s Find An Out, does that little bit more. By dropping the bass and percussion so they’re almost imperceptible in the mix, Jordan is able to demonstrate her classical training during the prettiest finger-picked song around at the moment. Heat Wave, similarly, has one of the best riffs on the album - it’s just a shame we only really hear it once.

There’s a plethora of cool, intelligent and acerbic female lyricists currently operating in indie-rock, so where will Snail Mail fit in on the map? While Jordan doesn’t quite do enough on ‘Lush’ to stand out from the Phoebe Bridgers, Soccer Mommy or Julien Baker crowd, she is firmly in the race.

Snail Mail Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon October 22 2018 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Tue October 23 2018 - GLASGOW Hug and Pint
Wed October 24 2018 - MANCHESTER Now Wave Venue
Thu October 25 2018 - LONDON Dome, Tufnell Park
Mon October 29 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
Tue October 30 2018 - BRIGHTON Sticky Mikes Frog Bar
Wed October 31 2018 - BRISTOL Thekla

Click here to compare & buy Snail Mail Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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