Guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Jordan released her debut EP under the name Snail Mail two years ago at the age of just sixteen. Two years later, she’s added a bassist (quite literally called Alex Bass) and a drummer (Ray Drums, sorry, Brown) to the mix and 'Lush', the new band’s first album, is upon us. This is basically classic-sounding American indie. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, and entirely suited to its new label - Matador.
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Norman Records website editor Clint is absolutely obsessed with the fact that Snail Mail have a bassist called Alex Bass. He’s so obsessed with it that I’ve been left to pick up the pieces and actually tell you what it is that Snail Mail do. Bolstered by the canny and intuitive songwriting prowess of Lindsey Jordan, the band offer the kind of subliminally pop-punk approach to middle-ground indie rock we’ve been hearing in bands like Soccer Mommy and Bully; simple strums, chugging verses, delicate guitar melodies and brilliant choruses mark ‘Lush’, making it yet another win for the earnest amongst us in 2018.
‘Lush’ has been in people’s hopes and dreams for a while now, and it arrives with songs to match its previews, offering secretly dynamic gems like “Pristine”, where a simple, one-level rock band chug gives out to occasional moments of sparsity and bumpy-road melancholy. From within a garage rock feel Snail Mail find their emo gravitas, letting the whining tones of “Speaking Terms” create meditations from fretboard alone. Jordan’s performance is of course vital: with a perfect understanding of the songs she’s made, she can cruise effortlessly along a sad-breeze song like this and then reach for the wreckage of “Golden Dream”, where garage ballad meets climax.
“Let’s Find An Out” is probably the record’s best moment: it matches the kind of slick, easy-peel guitar picking of an early Kurt Vile number with a sauntering percussive element that keeps its give-up sadness in motion. It’s only two minutes, but Jordan can cover a lot of ground in that time. Whether toying with a buzzing grunge in “Heat Wave” or veering into a folksier iteration of her sound, ‘Lush’ proves her to be a promising artist and then some, one who’s come into the scene with some fully formed songs and a whole lot of sad for your heart to take.
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