Snail Mail - Lush

by Brian Thompson Rating:9 Release Date:2018-06-08
Snail Mail - Lush
Snail Mail - Lush

Since the release of the infectious 2016 EP Habit, the eyes of the indie rock community have turned in unison toward singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan. Between her jarringly unfiltered lyrics, her slick guitar riffs, and her young age (she had a contract with Matador Records just months after graduating from high school), Jordan quickly became a favorite of media outlets and music fans alike, with a tremendous amount of pressure placed on Lush, the full-length debut of her acclaimed outfit Snail Mail. Hype of that magnitude can be kryptonite for a fledgling artist, but Jordan’s commanding first record refuses to crack under the weighty expectations thrust upon it.

It’s nearly impossible to choose a single strength of a Snail Mail song that shines above all others, but a glowing contender would be Jordan’s dexterous, open-veined lyricism. Track after track, she continues to pour out her heartfelt experiences in a way few artists every truly allow themselves to. From teary-eyed confessionals (“Stick,” “Anytime”) to unforgettable anthems of self-reliance (“Golden Dream,” “Full Control”), each song reads like a page torn from a secret diary, chronicling raw, naked emotion in real time. As she poses on lead single “Pristine,” “Is there any better feeling than coming clean?”

But Lush is far from a downer. Jordan presents her wounds to the listener, but it isn’t to whine or wallow in her own sadness. It’s to show how they’re in the process of healing. She has a knack for turning personal anguish into catchy indie rock bangers, as evidenced by the creamy guitar licks of “Pristine” or “Heat Wave.” This is certainly a vulnerable record, but it is a celebration, not a pity party. Even in its soft, tender moments, like “Speaking Terms” or “Deep Sea,” ride a summer breeze that would be just as fitting at a backyard hangout as it would as the soundtrack to a bitter breakup.

Aptly named, every corner of Lush is bursting forth with new life, with intricate layers of sound taking swirling melodies and textured meditations to a new level altogether (Who was expecting to hear a French horn solo on a Snail Mail track?). Habit is undoubtedly worthy of the praise it garnered, but it was often too lo-fi for its own good. Here, producer Jake Aron (Solange, Grizzly Bear) has sanded down the edges and further accentuated this gem of a performer. Propelled by her majestic guitar shredding and her heavenly gift of sincerity, Lindsey Jordan is the indie-rock prodigy to catch up to at the moment. Right out of the gate, she’s created a hazy, bedroom pop masterpiece.

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