Review: Snail Mail - 'Lush' (Matador)

Review: Snail Mail - 'Lush' (Matador) Straightforward teenage heartbreak through a witty indie-rock filter where optimism resonates.
Posted: 11 June 2018 Words: Michelle Kim

Straightforward teenage heartbreak through a witty indie-rock filter where optimism resonates.

Lindsey Jordon's age is a thing, nowhere can you read about her without it being mentioned, so let's get that part of the way. Jordan is just 18 years old, and has a pretty un-extraordinary background - growing up in a suburb of Baltimore and taking classical guitar training at age 5. However, a decade later found her writing the first material for the musical moniker, Snail Mail and releasing her debut EP Habit on local punk label Sister Polygon Records. Lush is Snail Mail's full-length debut on Matador Records and has been recorded with producer Jake Aron with contributions from her touring bandmates. Between them, they've made a straightforward indie-rock record covering themes of teenage angst, amped up and racked through a clean indie-rock filter indebted to slow-core 90s acts such as Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield. Gone is the reverb-drenched vocal buried deep within distorted guitars, a sound which surmised Jordon's debut EP Habit. Stripped back and gleaming for all to see, Lush has no hiding places and this gives a certain emphasis to the lyrical content as well as the chiming and intricate guitar work. It's a pretty accomplished indie-rock debut for someone of Jordan's tender years, the genius exists in her ability to touch upon darker themes of heartbreak and dissatisfaction without ever sounding maudlin. Relaying poignancy with a hopeful exhilaration is a feat which few manage to achieve, but Snail Mail does effortlessly. Musically, Lush is in the same vein as the output from her touring pals Girlpool and Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield, the latter whom she counts on as a mentor. Sharing similar 90's reference points such as Pavement and Dinosaur Jr, it's kind of obvious that comparisons with fellow female-led acts will be made. 'Heat Wave' explores the experience of unrequited love. Lyrics like "woke up in my clothes, having dreamt of you" are delivered slightly off-key which adds to the optimism resonating within the track, a method employed throughout the album, especially on "Pristine" and "Golden Dream". With a debut as prodigious as this, it's no wonder a fair amount of hype surrounds Snail Mail, we for one are excited to see where this goes.

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