Label: Matador Records
Released: 5th November 2021
Following up your critically acclaimed debut, one written at the age of 17, has to be a daunting task. In the throes of growing and learning, just how do you go about starting up again? Well, in the case of Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan, you throw everything you’ve got at it, including the kitchen sink.
From ‘that’ rapturously massive chorus of the titular track to the heartachingly sombre piano drops of ‘Light Blue’, Snail Mail is kicking things up a gear with ‘Valentine’. Ladling the melody on thick and fast, knowing when to let the groove nod and slink its way into your heart, this is pop music with a deft alt-rock edge and Lindsey’s proving she’s more than a master of it.
It’s hard to figure out just where Snail Mail shines most. It could be on the vulnerable, acoustic offerings (‘c. et. al.’) where the twang of a guitar string matches the forlorn feeling, or it could be on the driving rocky numbers that wait for no one (‘Glory’), or even the ones that go straight down the middle of both (‘Automate’, ‘Mia’). But that could just be because the whole thing relies on Lindsey’s ability to know when to give and take energy. Be it offering herself up in those more melancholic realisations “I should’ve never hurt you, I’ve got the devil in me” (‘Ben Franklin’), or when letting the sunset echoes of reverb radiate (‘Forever (Sailing)’) as if to charge up your own tender heart.
Channelling those growing, loving, losing and learning vibes that so truncate leaving your teens and entering your twenties, it’s refreshing to hear it done with such vibrancy. With the world focused on so much of the wider nitty-gritty, the granular reality of ‘us’ gets forgotten. We need more songs about dealing with the everyday love and loss because without it, how do we know how to traverse it? That’s what makes Snail Mail shine. Delivering the most necessary of lessons through the most addictive form of medicine: Very Good Music.