Indigo De Souza – Any Shape You Take

Stark reflection on an imposing new album...

The 2018 debut album by Indigo De Souza received almost ubiquitous praise – in part for the openly confessional voice prominent across the album.

De Souza’s second, 'Any Shape You' Take, is somewhat of a companion. “Many of the songs on these two records came from the same season in my life and a certain version of myself which I feel much further from now.” Similarly to ‘I Love My Mom’, De Souza’s second record freely invites the listener into her psyche using this confessional style, while pushing these emotions to exorbitantly visceral with a deft experimental edge to the tracks. Notable in this is ‘Real Pain’, a piece which uses hers and other voices to quite literally absorb “the energies of people” in a remarkable showcase of the collective nature of De Souza’s art: the track sees her online request of strangers to send “screams, yells, and anything else” collaged with her own, in an affecting maelstrom of anguish.

Besides this stark reflection on the emotive aftermath of relationships – a “release” for the artist herself – other tracks explore De Souza’s own navigation of rocky, meandering connections; a sense which permeates the shape-shifting structure of the album, and the title itself. “It feels so important for me to see people through change…for the many shapes they take, whether those shapes fit into your life or not. This album is a reflection of that.”

‘17’ exemplifies this shapeless form. The track soaks up more of De Souza’s pop sensibilities whilst also pushing the envelope, using the studio to fully envision her sound on this album, alternating the affected vocal modulation (somewhat akin, but taken in a different direction, to Julian Casablancas in The Voidz). The lilting timbre provides a potentially simple pop song tonnes more nuance, amplifying the yearning and serenity present.

‘Darker than Death’ and ‘Die/Cry’ are among the starkest confessional stages of the album – as well as the clearest vision of De Souza’s perspective – as the songwriter intones emphatically, “I’d rather die than see you cry”, on the latter. Here, De Souza morphs effortlessly into more rock-oriented space, the guitar’s tremor-like energy bolstering her emotional conviction.

‘Way Out’ spreads this multi-faceted shape further, with a complimentary, light and dark palette. The barbed guitar (with traces, among others, of the bossa nova style of Indigo’s father) and fleeing desperation of “I’m looking for a way out” illustrate the confusion experienced, while the ebullient outro of buoyant vocals hint towards a more resolute optimism: that of De Souza’s hurdle-filled journey to self-love.

The closing, stinging ‘Kill Me’ – tackling the climax of De Souza’s dysfunctional relationship – illustrates the most emotive complexity. While the refrain of “Kill me, slowly” is macabre in it’s lyricism, the sheer melody in which it is immaculately sung portrays the contradictory position of De Souza experiencing this crumbling relationship yet also being “…deeply in love with that person in a special way that felt very vast and more real than anything I’d ever experienced.”

‘Any Shape You Take’, rich in the emotional palette that it’s genre-free conveys, gathers together sentiments that may be familiar to many but haven’t been depicted in the vivid and complex methods explored here.


Words: James Kilkenny

– – –

– – –

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.