The music fades and the room is filled with enthusiastic applause. Snail Mail, the indie-rock solo project of Lindsey Jordan, has finished blasting the first song of their show at SWG3, ‘Heatwave’. Jordan looks up from the guitar she is tuning for the next song, offering the most endearing of cheeky smiles, a sharp contrast to the stern, near menacing looks she was giving just moments before, warning the audience: “I’m feeling low, I’m not into sometimes.”
Though one might not have guessed it from observing the audience eagerly singing along, the show was Snail Mail’s first in Scotland. The band strummed it out on stage in looking enviably cosy, bassist Alex Bass sporting stripes with stripes while Jordan could be found from somewhere in the midst of her oversized sweater and jeans. This perceived casualness did not extend to the music, however, as Jordan took to the stage with great confidence and went about playing her music in a very deliberate way.
The full soundscape of the band is a comforting one to lose yourself in and inhabit for an hour. The guitar-centric core sound works well, relying upon both Jordan’s technical mastery of the instrument as well as catchy, personable riffs. However, presently the eloquent lyrics and Jordan’s expressive delivery of them often gets lost in the amplified guitar and bass. Braver decisions in dropping out instruments at points would help to convey the varying degrees of emotional intensity in the songs, which Jordan already portrays through her voice.
One of the most communicatively effective parts of the night was when Jordan, alone with her guitar, treated the crowd to a rendition of ‘Anytime’. Positioned as the last track of the set-list, the band appeared aware of the power in the simple delivery, as well as of Jordan’s ability to hold the audience’s attention in the palm of her hand. Perhaps it will just take Jordan coming to trust herself more as an artist and a singer to embrace the quieter side of her music.
The decision to portray raw emotion behind thick walls of sound may be deliberate, however, as Jordan explained in a recent interview with The Independent: “I don’t want to put myself in a place in a song that’s pathetic. It’s good to be vulnerable, but not pathetic.” Shredding guitar while pouring out the innermost feelings of your heart might be an empowering experience as it allows you to take ownership of them. It was clear the crowd was happily there for the honesty – as well as for a good time.
Image Credit: Mike Maguire via Flickr