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Snail Mail - Valentine (Album Review)

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 Written by Alex Myles

Photo: Tina Tyrell

There has been a tendency in recent years to lazily draw comparisons between the “confessional” female singer-songwriters who’ve lit up indie sphere for the past decade—glossing over the differences in style and approach between artists such as Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy, for example—and on ‘Valentine’ Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan again underlines the reductive nature of such an approach.

With the release of her second album Jordan builds on her already impressive portfolio with songs that remain raw and honest—as they were on her 2018 debut ‘Lush’—but they are now more steadfast, ambitious and, as a result, more enjoyable.​ 

This ambition is clear from the very outset. A spacey synth underpins the opening title track, a song influenced by the album’s main inspiration—a break-up with a long-term partner.

The searing guitar and vocals are part of a fresher, bolder and more polished sound, pooling around lacerating words: “Why do you wanna erase me?”

Ben Franklin expands on this new focus, featuring a distorted bassline and a palette that delves into indie-rock more readily. Also evident here is Jordan’s impressive tendency to write understated but devastating lyrics that make a mark. “Post-rehab I’ve been feeling so small,” she sings.

‘Valentine’ can get dark, as on Headlock and Automate, but there are also lighter, more reflective, and knowingly self-indulgent moments such as the album closer Mia, with its overtly cinematic strings and lyrics that give an impression of healing and recovery. 

There’s a lot to love on ‘Valentine’. With the recruitment of Brad Cook, whose credits read as a who’s who of modern indie, on production duties, the trip-hop aesthetic of Forever (Sailing) and ‘OK Computer’ vibes on Automate do not feel arbitrary or unintended. ‘Lush’ put Snail Mail firmly on the indie radar and this success had unintended impacts on a still young artist. A stint in rehab and a series of heartbreaks later, the 22-year-old now has two excellent albums under her belt that demand not only attention but admiration. 

Snail Mail Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 18 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Sun February 20 2022 - GLASGOW QMU
Tue February 22 2022 - BRISTOL Marble Factory
Wed February 23 2022 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town

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