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by Snail Mail

Released November 5, 2021 via Matador Records

Reviewed November 16, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Valentine (50%), Ben Franklin (37%), Forever (Sailing) (37%)

Snail Mail’s sophomore effort, Valentine, confirms Lindsay Jordan’s trajectory as one of indie pop’s brightest young stars. Showing growth as a songwriter, Jordan pens somber and cathartic narratives similar to those on Lush, but from a much more mature standpoint. Lush catapulted an 18-year-old Jordan to the top of the indie rock ranks, and Valentine sees the now 22-year-old reflecting on how a combination of this meteoric rise and significant heartbreak have affected her since. Jordan’s lyrics are deeply tied to feelings of exhaustion and longing, but they are equally fought with a sense of resiliency and ambition. Although Valentine dips its toes in a pop sound, it still relies heavily on the conventions of guitar-driven indie-rock. There’s a combination of folk-inspired cuts and straight power pop throughout its 10 tracks, but each carries a sense of intricacy that is often tied to the addition of string arrangements or synths on top of each respective genre’s stylings. And as such, the brightest moments of Valentine are simultaneously the darkest, where Jordan’s rawest emotions cut through the dreamy, somber, and downright beautiful instrumentation laid forth. – Dominick (8.4/10)

There’s not a lot to dislike about Snail Mail’s Valentine, though there’s not a lot to love about it either. The album begins with the single, its titular track, one of the two most passionate and replayable songs it offers. Valentine then delivers a series of tracks alluringly written and performed by Lindsey Jordan, the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist. Instrumentally, the general indie-rock/bedroom pop sound of the record is alright, but rarely appears as having a profoundly elevating impact on any track. Ultimately, Snail Mail’s sophomore effort amounts to a dependable mood piece, appropriately timed for the Winter months, with few highs or lows to speak of. – DeVán (7.2/10)

Snail Mail's sophomore release, Valentine, relies heavily on the conventions of indie rock/pop, in a similar way to 2018's debut, Lush. The band channels the likes of Big Thief on the more folk-inspired tracks, as luscious acoustic workings are bolstered with beautiful string arrangements and the lightest of twinkling keys give even the simplest of ideas an edge. “Forever (Sailing)': is the standout track on Valentine; its atmosphere and lucid stabs of guitar reel in a sense of being forever afloat, with no come ups and no come downs. It is smooth sailing from there on out, sailing along the most serene of dancefloors for the remainder of time. Sure, it isn’t the re-invention of the wheel, but it most certainly is some lovely, listenable indie pop. Kudos to the Snail Mail camp. – Peter (6.5/10)

Dominick: 8.4/10 | Pablo: 8/10 | DeVán: 7.2/10 | Hadley: 7/10

Henny: 7/10 | Cam: 6.5/10 | Peter: 6.5/10


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