De Souza

Stars: 4/5 

Indigo De Souza has been taking the folktronica indie scene by storm following the release of her sophomore album, “Any Shape You Take." Recommended to me by a close friend, I have not only found a brutally honest, grungy tale of grief in this album, but an undeniable diamond in the rough as well. 

The 25-year-old North Carolina native has been making music since she was nine years old, and later learned to self-produce her music by the age of 16. In 2018, De Souza even self-released her first full-length album titled “I Love My Mom,” which received such a great deal of praise that Saddle Creek Records re-released it in 2021, allowing the artist to gain even more traction in the past year. 

Her latest release, “Any Shape You Take,” takes you on a 38 and a half minute emotional rollercoaster. The first track is “17,” a hauntingly auto-tuned song that sets the mood for the rest of the album, “heartbreak with a touch of self-loathing." She calls out to her lover from adolescence, saying that she will be there for them despite him not wanting her. After this synth-pop-sounding, emotive track is my undoubted favorite, “Darker Than Death”.

The first 30 seconds of this song is enough to have you craving the opening verse. The singer starts by repeating in the first two lines that her lover was “darker than death” when she spoke to them last. She then questions her actions in the relationship, singing “Was it something I said to you, darling? / I’m sorry I never meant to stay out so late / I got carried away." Alongside the brutally expressive lyrics of the song is the fixating sound of the guitar riff in the beginning, allowing the album to continue to impress. 

Another standout hit from this album is the eighth track, “Hold U." The beat offers a groovier sound compared to other songs on the album, which proves to be a refresher from the songs before that painted a gloomier picture. “Hold U” is an unconventional approach to self-contemplation for the artist, as she sings about holding the person she loves confidently. The track seems to represent De Souza’s playful and vibrant side, while the rest of the album depicts her struggles with love and identity.

“Pretty Pictures” is also one of the most standout tracks in the album; the delightfully tranquil hi-fi beat will make you forget the song is about giving up someone you love for the better. “Die/Cry” emphasizes De Souza’s tendency to overanalyze her role in her lover’s life, which she solidifies in the first line of the chorus: “Well, I’d rather die than see you cry." “Bad Dream” is a classic rock-esque number with powerful hints of pure sadness and despair, leaving the singer crying for help in the outro. The artist continues to share her most intrusive and honest thoughts in “Real Pain,” where she sings of grief and loss in the most daunting way, using overlapping screams and voices near the end to truly display her inner turmoil. 

From start to finish, this angst-filled, alt-indie songstress takes you away to an ethereal yet sorrow-filled place with “Any Shape You Take”. The album allows you to feel both the excitement and heartbreak that comes with love, which De Souza highlights through her self-loathing lyrics that portray a sense of long-awaited healing. If there is one thing to take away from the album, it would be that crooning angrily into a microphone can be the best possible form of therapy.

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