ALBUM REVIEW: Any Shape You Take by Indigo De Souza

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WRITTEN BY: Esther Landis

Singer-songwriter Indigo De Souza has been gaining a continuous following since the release of her debut indie rock album, I Love My Mom. De Souza’s first album is filled with personal lyrics that get to the root of emotion; she’s not afraid to be blunt. After releasing singles “Kill Me,” “Hold U,” and “Real Pain,” De Souza finally released her sophomore album, Any Shape You Take, on Saddle Creek Records on August 27, 2021. Like the first, this album is fueled by emotion and is abundantly personal. De Souza feels that her two albums are companion pieces, as she wrote them in succession during the same season of her life. With similar themes to her first album, Any Shape You Take elaborates on the highs and lows of romantic relationships. De Souza understands that simply loving a person doesn’t mean things will be easy for the two of you. 

De Souza’s two albums are tied together in more ways than one. The art on her first and second albums—created by her mother, Kimberly Oberhammer—both display psychedelic scenes that feature two light purple, skull-headed figures. This imagery helps to connect the two pieces, along with Any Shape You Take’s vocal style, guitar riffs, and basslines that are reminiscent of De Souza’s first album. There are countless lyrical parallels throughout the two albums as well. In I Love My Mom, De Souza sings, “I’m not the girl you thought I was.” In Any Shape You Take, she sings, “I’m nothing like I was/ I’m nothing like the girl you loved/ I haven’t seen her in months.” De Souza also questions “Was it something I said?” in both albums. The specific repetition of lyrics like this reveals how personal these songs are for the singer. 

The album as a whole fully encompasses the frustrations and uncertainties that happen in a relationship, regardless of how much you love someone. It begins with the song “17,” an upbeat tune with synth as its main instrument. Two tracks later is “Die/Cry,” a happier-sounding song where De Souza repeats the lyric “I’d rather die than see you cry,” and finishes the song by repeatedly belting “I’d rather die before you die.” “Pretty Pictures” comes next, detailing the difficulty of breaking up with someone you’re still in love with because you both know it is for the best. 

Perhaps the most notable moment of the album is halfway through the fifth song, “Real Pain.” De Souza slowly sings the word “going” repeatedly as the entire song, over the course of about a minute and a half, descends into shouts and screams until they take over. Then, all screaming abruptly stops and the song cuts to De Souza singing “I wanna kick, wanna scream, I wanna know it’s not my fault.” This screaming interlude is a collage of audio tracks sent in by De Souza’s fans. She says, “I felt an incredible catharsis hearing their voices stacked with mine. While we live such separate lives, we are connected in the way that we all navigate immense amounts of pain and love and fear in our bodies every day. It can be hard to be a person! It’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes. It’s okay to feel things fully and to allow others space to do the same.”

The energy of “Real Pain” continues into “Bad Dream” and “Late Night Crawler,” where De Souza’s belting is accompanied by plenty of guitar. “Hold U” stands out as the only consistently positive song on the album. “Way Out” comes next, and “Kill Me” wraps up the entire album. “Kill Me” encompasses much of the frustrations of love that can be seen throughout the project, and De Souza’s punchy vocals end the song and the album. 

Any Shape You Take successfully elaborates and adds to Indigo De Souza’s debut album. While having a similar feel to the first album, it is not a copy of it, and it introduces plenty of addicting melodies and basslines. Though De Souza’s lyrics can be dismal, she reminds her listeners that it’s okay to let out those emotions and scream sometimes. 

Tracklist:

  1. 17
  2. Darker Than Death
  3. Die/Cry
  4. Pretty Pictures
  5. Real Pain
  6. Bad Dream
  7. Late Night Crawler
  8. Hold U
  9. Way Out
  10. Kill Me

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