NEW MUSIC ALERT: SNAIL MAIL – "HABIT"
Like Habit's artwork suggests, feverish sun-daze paints Baltimore lo-fi indie band Snail Mail’s EP. Though easy-to-appreciate on first listen, Habit takes its time, led by vocalist/guitarist Lindsey Jordan’s plaintive cry through richly vacant atmosphere. The mood is set by Jordan’s fuzzy riffs reminiscing in rhythm over pale suburban imagery and distantly yearning vocals. Jordan’s voice laments from faraway, but isn’t buried enough to obscure the sincerity of her lyrics. Through indie pop melodies, Habit discusses familiar themes on struggling with insomnia, the consuming weight of teenage boredom, and the disquiet of forgotten identity.
One of the EP’s standout tracks “Static Buzz” carries Jordan’s vocals on contemplative waves of bright guitar. Beneath the mix, drummer Shawn Durham lifts momentum before reaching a cadence, pauses, and then returns in unison with the band. This wavelike tempo, drums falling in-and-out of motion, mimics the rise and descent of Jordan’s lyrics about her patterns of monotony and self-enclosure—a fear of, and a desire for, a way out of the haze. At the song’s climax, Jordan belts under crashing cymbals, “I don’t want to know what’s on the other side,” though her voice’s desperate tremble implies otherwise.
Snail Mail’s Habit is a testament to all lethargic waiting periods before recovery—be it the tail-end to a bad cycle of insomnia, or the summer you wasted getting high—it’s got an untapped electricity that circulates throughout, and surges occasionally in cathartic defiance. Snail Mail's fantastic juxtaposition of inertia and stupor is what draws me back to this record over and over again, as well as its opaquely luminous production and its irresistible teenage spirit.
Listen to Snail Mail’s Habit EP on Bandcamp!