Released: 8th June 2018
The teenage years are tough – and rarely has the drama of heartache or the struggle to find your place in the world sounded so palpable as it does on Snail Mail’s ‘Lush’.
If ‘Lush’ feels like an intimate reading of a teenage diary, it kind of is. The product of 18-year-old singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan, ‘Lush’ brims with angst and broken hearts, its immediacy to the subject matter its most potent weapon. There’s no distance of time to soften the pain, just raw and honest lyrics that pull on heartstrings with all of the power of a seasoned crooner. “I won’t love anyone else,” she pleads on the crystalline ‘Pristine’ and with guitars fizzing and drums crashing in the background, it feels like the end of the world.
And yes, it does all feel rather melodramatic. But that’s the teenage years. With so much hanging on being seen at the right party, or following the right trend, Jordan captures a peculiar world with crystal-clear clarity.
It sounds great, too. Guitars are warm and fuzzy – like a comfort blanket on a winter’s night, while there’s a gentleness to cuts like ‘Stick’ that could make even the most stern dewy-eyed. Yet, when ‘Lush’ hits overdrive – like on the quite wonderful ‘Full Control’ – it’s hard not to make comparisons to the likes of Elliott Smith, Jordan marrying the minutiae of life with pitch-perfect indie-pop songs that are complex and bittersweet. Elsewhere, gorgeous French horns add a dash of colour to the lamenting ‘Deep Sea’, while the incidental and jazzy ‘Heat Wave’ pushes Jordan’s musicianship to the fore.
It all ends with ‘Anytime’, a slowcore slow jam that puts the focus back on Jordan’s striking lyrics and pleading voice. In the end, you could waste your whole life anyways, and I want better for you,” she concludes, her life stretching out in front of her eyes. ‘Lush’ may be about teenage feelings, but here, in this adolescent twilight, truths are precocious and profound – and the results are enchanting. Rob Mair