Snail Mail – Lush (Matador)

In 1993 Liz Phair gave a strongly male dominated indie rock a dose of femininity with the release of her album Exile From Guyville. Twenty five years later her influence is even stronger and has been embodied in up and comer Snail Mail on her first album Lush.

First making waves with her 2016 EP Habit, it would have been ridiculous not to sign Lindsey Jordan. Matador Records proved themselves clever enough to be the label to pick up on her aspiring talent and songwriting.

I had  been keeping an eye on Snail Mail for a while now, and although Habit was a great first release, it did leave a lot to be desired and I was confident that young (seventeen years old at the time) could make a much better impression over time if she kept working at her song writing.

Two years later, Lush has indeed confirmed she’s honing her musical abilities.

From the beginning to end, Lush feels like an emotional rollercoaster, with songs about terrible house parties to agonizing break ups, lashings of angst befitting a largely teenage audience who will be relating to the album.

We first hear this on second track Pristine which documents the heartbreak and recovery post break up. Already this song is enough to give you an idea of the theme of the album, teenage adolescence. Pristine is one of the stand out tracks on the album with it’s beautiful lyrics that makes you relive the feeling of seeing your ex with a new person while trying to remain friends.

While the each song on the record has very little difference between one another, things do get somewhat altered on tracks such as Speaking Terms which starts off with an almost math rock guitar riff and Heat Wave rough messy distorted guitars that resemble lo fi 90s garage rock and of course Liz Phair. This adds to the heartbreaking fun of the album, perhaps also distracting you from how sad the lyrics are.

Intro and Let’s Find An Out contain a sharp level of indie folk and slowcore factors on them. I can hear a large dose of Julien Baker and Red House Painters sound resonating through these tracks.

Throughout Lush, Lindsey displays a powerful and youthful vocal performance that ultimately works in her favour to capture the highs and lows of the self destructive and disarrayed journey that is essentially growing up.

Overall, if there’s one way to describe Lush, it’s that it’s a good indie rock album and a great way to start a career. While Lindsey has proven herself as a good musician and songwriter, unfortunately though Lush does not offer anything new to indie rock and fails to reshape the genre in anyway, but this is what I find so exciting about Snail Mail. It leaves me eager to see how and what she will follow up Lush with, still proving she is definitely one to keep watching.

If you are looking for an album to help guide you through your broken heart and maybe even help mend it, I highly recommend that Lush is the album for you.

Jonathan Strock