Album Review: Indigo De Souza – Any Shape You Take (Audiotree Records)
Honesty. A word you might hear a lot, but struggle to find. In the music industry, like every other industry, honesty is hard to come by. The line between truth and lie is wafer-thin – but we may have come across a young flowering artist willing to break the mould. Indigo De Souza, a 22-year-old North Carolinian singer has delivered a tell-all sophomore album that offers an insight into her astute mind and even warmer heart.
First and foremost, it is important to note that this album does not belong to a genre. It would only be reductive to isolate these 10 songs by putting them into a box. What’s on display is a snapshot of influences as far-reaching as neo-soul to alternative. “The album title is a nod to the many shapes I take musically. I don’t feel that I fully embody any particular genre—all of the music just comes from the universe that is my ever-shifting brain/heart/world,” says Indigo. A throng of influences can be heard, and this feeds the bi-polar nature of the album. Unexpected turns and fluctuating instrumentals drive the album to anywhere but conformity.
Track one is an uninspiring start, 17 is everything I hoped the album wouldn’t be. Swimming in a sea of prosaic pop, this track is emblematic of a congested popular music scene in need of rejuvenation. What comes next diverts away from banality and spearheads into a new lease of life, this is where the album truly begins. Darker than Death, Die/Cry, and Pretty Pictures give the album a thought-provoking turn into a sentimental darkness where we all often visit. Tones of angsty adolescence cut deep, the door is now open – welcome to Indigo’s mind. Real Pain, one of the most experimental tracks on the record, is Indigo’s attempt to make that phenomena more intentionally collaborative. Starting soft before dropping down into a cavernous pit of layered screams and cries, Real Pain collages the voices of strangers—audio bites Indigo received after posting online asking for “screams, yells and anything else.” “Hearing these voices join together and move with my own was really powerful. The whole record was a release for me. And I hope it can be that for others.” Such a moving track that inventively displays emotions that we as a society don’t show enough. It’s okay to say you’re not okay.
Indigo’s lyrics and voice adapt and shift to fall in total unison with her backing band, weaving and grooving to paint a picture of a multitude of emotions and genres. A coming of age aura is present throughout. Themes of love, heartache, reconciliation, melancholia, and guilt combine to portray hard-hitting realism that we all eventually succumb to. As Indigo states, “I wanted this album to give a feeling of shifting with and embracing change. These songs came from a turbulent time when I was coming to self-love through many existential crises and shifts in perspective.” Saving the best for last, the album’s finale is the lead single. Kill Me serves as the paranoid crescendo that wraps a very loud bow around the album. Written during the climax of a dysfunctional relationship, the opening lyrics read “Kill me slowly/ Take me with you.” This powerful plea, that begins within the quiet strum of a single electric guitar, is diffused by Indigo’s ironic apathy—a slacker rock nonchalance that refuses to take itself seriously: “I was really tired and fucked up from this relationship and simultaneously so deeply in love with that person in a special way that felt very vast and more real than anything I’d ever experienced.”
Albeit not my cup of tea, my appreciation for Indigo De Souza has increased tenfold. She’s responsible for an album that’s humble, honest, and relatable. To release such a mature piece of work at the age of 22 can only be a positive sign. Indigo De Souza is taking life as it comes and learning from her mistakes. Her lyrics resonate with a youth trying to navigate their way through a complex period of their lives. Be grateful for her honesty, it might save you one day. Any Shape You Take is far from a perfect album, and perhaps that’s what the message is; that imperfection is perfection.
‘Any Shape You Take’ is released via Audiotree Records on Fri Aug 27.