Our reviewer calls the new How To Dress Well album the “single most addictive record I’ve picked up this year.”
Live in Portland June 25, 2018 | Holocene
In a scene some are calling “bedroom pop” (a sound cornered by indie youth dream rock), 18-year-old Lindsey Jordan dove headfirst into a melancholic wave with her first release in 2015. True to her indie lo-fi roots, Jordan’s first EP was a self-recorded solo work, Sticki, published under the name Snail Mail. Like the term it originates from, Snail Mail is slow-paced, steady and a little retro with simple, yet charming melodies. Now accompanied by bassist Alex Bass and drummer Ray Brown, their newest release, Lush, embraces the uprising slowcore movement: melancholic tones, sad-kid lyrics and minimalist arrangements.
While a term like “bedroom pop” is broad and dismissive, Lush does feels like an anthem for self reflection circling an adolescent dream: something one might play in the background while spending a full day in PJs, pondering the meaning of life and pacing around potential existential crisis. A caring sense of feigned apathy is set by the tone of lyrics such as: “Same night/ Same humility for those you love/ Anyway/ Anyway,” and “It just feels like/The same party every weekend /Doesn’t it/ Doesn’t it,” (of the song “Pristine”). With constant repetition both lyrically and melodically, the album lends to the listener an easy, dreamy tone to simply feel.
With vocals reminiscent of Adult Mom and Diet Cig, and a guitar tone not unlike Chastity Belt, Snail Mail fits snugly into a community of dreamy indie rock. Clean guitar tones, catchy riffs and Jordan’s clean, unwavering vocal melodies provide a perfect combination for easy listening and pleasant daydreaming. Kicking off the album with “Intro,” there is a dreary note of sadness and crying into a pillow post-breakup. Jordan’s voice is crisp and intimate, as though she were sitting a foot away pouring out her heart and soul to the listener–a private serenade.
Every song on Lush holds a tone of lament and heartbreak. “I’m so tired of moving on/ Spending every weekend so far gone/ Heat wave, nothing to do/ Woke up in my clothes having dreamt of you.” “Heat Wave” kicks off as a dreary pop anthem of resigned loss, someone longing for another who has left them and moved on. It’s a relatable and oddly beautiful sentiment, yet somehow magically accentuates young love: a naive first heartbreak with hope for a future. The true brutality of the world has not quite collided in the world of Lush, yet it rings out loud and clear to anyone who has felt a sense of longing or a stagnant place in the world.