Indigo De Souza – ‘Any Shape You Take’ review: finding love through turmoil

The North Carolinian's second album is as a masterful slice of grunge pop that digs deep into human connection and love

Raised in a remote North Carolina town with her free-spirited mother, Indigo De Souza has always had the space to let her imagination run wild. It was unsurprising that the themes heard on 2018’s debut album ‘I Love My Mom’ were deeply expressive, with the colourful slacker-pop tackling themes of mental health and shitty breakups with a sense of true abandon.

Having since been picked up by indie mainstay Saddle Creek [Big Thief, Bright Eyes] – she’s doubled-down on that early vision for the second full-length ‘Any Shape You Take’, while evolving the living room grunge into something more defined. It’s clear from opener ‘17’ that the intimacy remains in the face of scaling up. The ambient slice of pop comes like a warm embrace with a sickly auto-tuned vocal: “darling if you need me I’ll be right here / I’ve come to rescue.”

De Souza recently told NME that making this record was a healing process in itself having been recorded at the end of a long-term relationship. The evidence is all over the record, perhaps most notably in lead single ‘Kill Me’ which is sung with a bittersweet angst of the emotional fallout, “Nobody asked me to feel this fucked up / but here I am fucked up.” The biggest emotional purge comes with ‘Real Pain’ a haunting, grunge ballad which dissects conflicting feelings of ending a long-term relationship.The track builds into a squall of screams submitted by fans from across the globe; it’s as compelling as it is unnerving.

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Despite these starker moments, she often strives to find the light wherever possible. Even the breakup anthem ‘Pretty Pictures’ which comes as a perfect blend of grunge and pop carries an uplifting spirit, alluding to the record title and loving people through all the shapes that they take. Single ‘Hold U’ churns with similarly warm feelings as a love song of the purest form, one of the more soulful moments on the listen, she sings honestly and simply atop a melodic and meandering guitar line, “You are a good thing I’ve noticed / And I want a good thing with you.”

She’s unafraid to tackle the morbid or macabre either – with themes of death creeping into even the life-affirming moments – the Cherry Glazerr-esque ‘Die/Cry’ grapples with the more profound topic of loving someone so much you want to die before them. Elsewhere the arena-ready indie of ‘Darker Than Death’ hears her desperately sing, “Was it something I said?”

There’s a hell of a lot at play through this listen but that’s exactly how De Souza wants it. “That’s how my brain feels. It’s not one dimensional, there are lots of ups and downs so I try to reflect that in music.What she does do is elegantly weave different worlds together while staying true to herself throughout. It’s a follow-up that seals her as a new icon for outsiders, in whatever shape she takes.

Details

Indigo De Souza Any Shape You Take

  • Release date: August 27
  • Record label: Saddle Creek
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