When Lindsey Jordan first introduced Snail Mail to the world with their 2018 debut Lush, it was hard not to romanticize something about her music. The push and pull between her vulnerable lyrics and confident sound made for the perfect summer teen heartbreak album.
Her slacker-like delivery with these powerful choruses mix a lot of what made bands like Pavement, Liz Phair, and The Lemonheads so great during the 90’s. Along with being proficient on guitar Jordan is able to simply convey the way she’s feeling during every song and often add a good sense of humor to each of her songs.
Over 2019 and 2020, Jordan compiled 10 new songs that once again showed her ability to bare her emotions out on each track, diving deeper into what the meaning of heartbreak is and what comes with that. However, on Valentine, her 2021 release Jordan doesn’t just focus on the guitar centric sounds on her first record. Instead she gave her sound a more pop feel which juxtaposed to the lyrics once again, creating this great back and forth between sound and lyrics.
Since 2021, Jordan has been slow to return to the stage, but now she is back and stopped by Woodward Theater, Tuesday night for many fans to hear her whole catalog live.
Snail Mail took the stage around 9:25 pm with no intention of stopping. As the lights dimmed, we hear the first bell ring of the familiar and ominous, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica off their classic 1984 record, Ride The Lighting. The song continues to build, similar to a professional sporting event, like the puck drop at an NHL game. Possibly where they were inspired to use it from as Jordan was an avid hockey player in her youth. It was almost humorous as, many fans were there to hear Snail Mail’s often chill surfer rock vibes, and that was not the feeling you had as they walk out on stage.
Jordan, who has been most famously know to rock blonde hair on both of her album covers came to stage with her hair dyed brunette. Making her slightly unrecognizable at first. However, the second she pick up her Fender Jazzmaster and the lights slowly lit the Woodward stage, Jordan began gently playing the soft jazzy guitar intro to their song “Heat Wave.”
The Baltimore based artist clearly has influences pulling from punk, riot girl rock, and 90’s indie bands. However, her ability to flex her guitar skills allows for the band to jump from this surfer rock sound, to these almost Steely Dan-like guitar solos. It probably would surprise many upon first listen that Snail Mail is an East Coast act, as they are able to create these picturesque lush sounds that you can just imagine yourself driving along the California coast line watching the sunset.
Jordan and company, although only playing an hour set, did not stop their pace other than to tune and make some jokes about Ohio and Cincinnati’s chili. Inferring that someone in the band had not had a great experience after eating our beloved chili.
With only two albums and a few EP’s Snail Mail was able to please fans with a majority of their catalog. The highlight came however, when Jordan began singing the intro to the title track "Valentine." A brutal love song that showcases Jordan’s ability to stay grounded in her roots as a guitarist while giving a glimpse at how a more pop centric sound could be in the band’s future. The song is again this tug and pull made famous by many bands in the 90’s. Soft verses that blast off into these powerful choruses. Pair that with the lyrics in the chorus, “So why’d you want to erase me? Darling, Valentine…” It really shows that Jordan can take this band to heights of larger and more grandiose productions, should she want to.
With artists like Boygenius challenging what a main stage act can be, there’s no reason Snail Mail cannot and shouldn’t be on a main stage music festival in the coming years. With Snail Mail also receiving glowing reviews and snatching Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” twice the sky is only the limit for Jordan and company.
For fans that were lucky enough to attend the sold out show at the Woodward Tuesday night, they may be saying a few years from now that they got to stand just feet away from the next great indie rock act.
Snail Mail is currently on tour and you can check out all their music wherever you stream music from.