Snail Mail – Valentine

After three years of silence, Snail Mail’s eccentric second LP Valentine proves good things come to those who wait

Album Review by Katie Cutforth | 01 Nov 2021
  • Snail Mail - Valentine
Album title: Valentine
Artist: Snail Mail
Label: Matador
Release date: 5 Nov

In three years of silence since her explosive debut Lush, Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan has been on a journey. It was during a stint in an Arizona recovery clinic, that Jordan, separated from her instruments, began to (quite literally) pen arrangements purely from imagination. These ideas became Valentine – an energetic and eccentric second record, and evidence of an artist who has chosen to take her time.

Where Lush was agonised, anxious, Valentine finds a new serenity; Jordan takes a step back from her emotions and makes deeper observations of her experiences. Still, there are flashes of the stubborn candour that made Lush so memorable. 'Moved on but nothing feels true', she laments on Ben Franklin, following it with the gut punch: 'Sometimes I hate her just for not being you'.

It’s an album of growers, taking its time to reach unconventional climaxes. But there’s nothing fluffy about it; Jordan’s delivery is clean, precise and exudes confidence well beyond her years. It’s sonically varied too, with synth-led numbers like Valentine and Forever (Sailing) balanced by signature Snail Mail guitar-driven rock tracks Headlock and Glory.

Jordan ties off the record with its most vulnerable moment. Mia is an aching lullaby that sounds like a sequel to Lush’s delicate closer, Anytime. Sitting starkly over the gentle instrumentals, the rawness of Jordan’s vocals make the sentiment all the more endearing, as without bitterness or derision she simply admits: ‘I wish that I could lay down next to you’.

Listen to: Ben Franklin, Light Blue, Madonna