Album | Snail Mail – Lush

The amount of artistic credit that has built up around the name of Lindsey Jordan, aka Snail Mail, has gotten so high that it is difficult to make an informed judgement about it. Almost every paper or digital ‘zine has saluted a new enfant prodige (she’s just out of her teens) of the current musical scene, and this a case of hype mounting up before even the publication of this, her debut album.

Well, even though this is certainly not the first female songwriter expression of the current 90s revival, it does sound like representative of its micro-genre. It might be a record we will quote when recalling this specific era in music (along with Camp Cope, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired, Silently. Quietly, Going Away, Painted Shut, AOID, and so on). There is indeed a ‘Lush’-ness to these songs, not in a vain way, but in a sense they seem fixed to a point in time, and condense all the ingredients of the music produced before in this genre.

It might be for its very neat guitar lines, which betray an above-average proficiency (with even some Nels Cline inclinations, here and there; the work in ‘Golden Dream’ is superb in this respect), or maybe their very ‘iconic’ songwriting, as far as emo-pop goes, at least (a few of these songs will remain as trademark anthems, e.g. ‘Pristine’). Or it might be because there is no traces of self-indulgence or of a studied pose, which sometimes characterise these works. There is indeed a great artistic confidence, even a bold naiveté, in the over-extending of Lindsey’s delivery above what is very consistent songwriting (the codas in ‘Deep Sea’ and ‘Stick’).

It has to be said that, for the fans of this particular genre, the attention ‘Lush’ is receiving is probably, although not misplaced, unbalanced if we think of other similar works. This is perhaps unavoidable in the world of music journalism. But ultimately this is a very good record with lots of memorable hooks and a general mood one can only sympathise with.

Words: Lorenzo Righetto