If you’re among the earliest fans of Indigo De Souza, the ones who were introduced to the North Carolina artist via her excellent debut, I Love My Mom, back in 2018, then you’ve been patiently waiting with bated breath a long three years for her follow up. Also, congratulations are in order as your veteran status grants you every right to feel superior to us De Souza newbies who were only recently hipped to her talents via the Saddle Creek reissue of Indigo’s first full-length earlier this summer. Regardless of whether you’ve been hanging around three years or three months for this latest album, we all have a reason to rejoice. The new Indigo De Souza record is upon us, and it was fortunately worth the wait.
For those altogether unfamiliar, Indigo De Souza’s songwriting is frequently confessional and often deeply emotional, regularly taking on the ups and downs of relationships both romantic and otherwise. The style of the songs on her new full-length, Any Shape You Take, range from danceable pop to indie rock. Whether she’s bearing down adamantly for emphasis or flying lightly upon a chorus, occasionally dipping into a slight yodel reminiscent ever so subtly of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, De Souza’s versatile vocal style easily matches the mood of each track.
Any Shape You Take opens with the autotune infused “17”, a song built on a synthpop structure that blossoms with the help of neo-soul touches. De Souza’s guitar is first heard on the impassioned “Darker Than Death”, an emotional number wherein Indigo punctuates each chorus of, “Was it something I said?” with a distorted chord. The album’s first standout moment is reached with the peppy indie rock number “Die/Cry”, a song that builds upon itself, getting slightly heavier production-wise each time Indigo rolls into the chorus of, “I’d rather die, than see you cry.” Just before Any Shape You Take’s halfway point, “Pretty Pictures” arrives, bringing with it a thoughtful pop feel that has an emphatic Indigo passionately singing, “Breaking up and getting back together, breaking up with someone you love, ‘cause you know it’s gonna be for the better, but it’s so hard to give it up.”
The record’s second half opens with a misdirect in the form of “Real Pain”. The song’s first minute and a half is fairly straightforward before the entire thing is slowly swallowed by a chorus of what can only be described as primal screaming. After roughly two full minutes of this, the screams are suddenly pulled out and we’re left with Indigo breaking away at a downhill run for the track’s last minute, singing, “I wanna kick, wanna scream, wanna know it’s not my fault!” A second standout moment arrives with the wonderfully soulful single, “Hold U”. De Souza’s rhythm section is on full display here, providing an upbeat groove that gives her optimistic lyrics and gorgeous vocals room to soar magnificently.
The album is concluded with the midtempo ender, “Kill Me”. The song works as a fine closer that manages to utilize De Souza’s full vocal capabilities, ranging from gentle cooing to insistent shouting. All told, Any Shape You Take is an emotional ride that manages to convey the frustrating unpredictability of love without ever wading too deeply into its unpleasantries. Indigo proves herself an optimist when it comes to matters of the human heart and a person worth cheering on until she makes her next move, which, now that we’re all on board, we hopefully won’t have to wait too long for.