Indigo De Souza
Any Shape You Take


4.1
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
August 29th, 2021 | 81 replies


Release Date: 08/27/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: maybe we're bigger than staying in the very same place

Any Shape You Take begins with the misdirect of the year. "17" is a deceptively straightforward indie pop tune, with a pitch-shifted vocal innocently singing lines with unnerving undertones like "this is the way I'm going to bend now that the baby's gone", it could almost be a cut from Japanese Breakfast's superb Jubilee. But this isn't more gorgeous, cleanly produced indie pop. A few listens in, Any Shape You Take remains enigmatically, delightfully hard to pin down.

I'm sure that's just how Indigo De Souza intended it. From the bones of its songwriting to the album title, Any Shape You Take is largely concerned with change and metamorphosis. The album flits through sardonic Alvvays-style slacker rock, noisy feedback-driven grunge and sugary indie pop, pulling off each with aplomb but never really seeming at home in any. It's a remarkably restless and hungry 40 minutes of music, maybe bordering on scattershot, if not for one thing holding it all together.

That would be De Souza's own vocals. Put simply, she gives the best performance of the year on this album, her powerhouse voice bursting out of the seams of every song like it simply can't be contained. At one point during the bridge of "Bad Dream" she jumps between a throaty growl, wavering falsetto and Adrienne Lenker-esque scream in the space of 30 seconds. Another bridge provides the single best moment of the album by steering in the opposite direction. The exquisite "Real Pain" suddenly drops into a slow-tempo drone while De Souza repeatedly intones one word, before she gradually fades out to be replaced by the sound of, well, screams. This is no "I Know the End" style yelling coda that's winking at the audience all throughout, but truly anguished sounds of pain from a multitude of voices, layered into a haunting chorus that says more about what we've all been through these days than any lyric could. Then with a snap, it's over, and the song kicks back into its catchy uptempo hook without a hint of self-satisfaction.

Any Shape You Take is full of moments like this, where the songs seem to stretch like elastic to accommodate De Souza's gargantuan vocal presence. The inclusion of some less memorable songs based on repetitive hooks like "Die/Cry" and "Pretty Pictures" slightly handicaps the album's first half, before "Real Pain" kicks off what's possibly the best run of indie rock this year. You may leave Indigo De Souza with any number of impressions - the tongue-in-cheek grunge rockers playing their influences, the slickly catchy indie pop potential of "17" and "Hold U", the heart-in-mouth climaxes of closing duo "Way Out" and "Kill Me", both of which can go head to head with anything on Big Thief's Two Hands in terms of sheer raw songcraft. One thing you're sure to remember is the album's energy: frayed-wire nervous but busily excited, never fully revealing itself but brutally open-hearted, and no matter the genre, entirely unique.



Recent reviews by this author
Lil Ugly Mane Volcanic Bird Enemy...Little Simz Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Big Red Machine How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?Meet Me @ The Altar Model Citizen
Isaiah Rashad The House Is BurningAdjy The Idyll Opus (I-VI)
user ratings (47)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


45800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

album's real good, RIYL to any fans of janky funny indie rock with killer vox



Real Pain and Kill Me are phenomenal singles to check first



https://indigodesouza.bandcamp.com/album/any-shape-you-take

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED CONCERN

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2021


2919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

All three "recommended by reviewer" albums say that I have to check this ASAP!



Nice review, Rowan.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is so good you are so good I will read this soon and listen to it again many many more times great album

Digging: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - Teenage Jesus and the Jerks

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


45800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

huge bet, also that's the highest johnny rating I've gotten from a rec perhaps whoa



cheers sunny, I should emphasise this doesn't sound exactly like any of those albums, but they're all in it's DNA along with a billion other things lol

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2021


2919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Rowan, understood, definitely sounds up my alley regardless.

Gyromania
August 29th 2021


33097 Comments


Wild album art

Cormano
August 29th 2021


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

name dropping the real class acts I see



you def got me more excited to listen than I already was based on singles

Lasssie
August 29th 2021


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album art is dope

Darker Than Death is bae

I think im in luv with this gurl

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is no "I Know the End" style yelling coda that's winking at the audience all throughout, but truly anguished sounds of pain from a multitude of voices, layered into a haunting chorus that says more about what we've all been through these days than any lyric could. Then with a snap, it's over, and the song kicks back into its catchy uptempo hook without a hint of self-satisfaction.

lmao huge pos

Colton
August 29th 2021


12733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so like what Phoebe did in I Know the End if it wasn't lazy and lame? sounds intriguing

BigTuna
August 29th 2021


5604 Comments


Excited to check this! No reason to drag "I Know the End" though ;)

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Illusory Walls

Colton
August 29th 2021


12733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so many reasons

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


45800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

it's not an inherently bad thing that I Know the End winks at the audience imo, in fact the way it kinda punctures the dreary seriousness of the album in it's last moments has merit. but what was awesome on first listen severely wore on me after a few, I guess because it doesn't fully commit to itself, and especially after the dumb SNL debacle made it A Thing



prob did Real Pain a slight injustice by mentioning it, they're different things entirely but IKTE is the new default "female indie vocal screaming" point of reference so I just got ahead of the inevitable comparison



anyway stream this; it's actually good and deserves your time

BigTuna
August 29th 2021


5604 Comments


Fair points Rowan. Any woman can scream on any indie record as far as I’m concerned, whether that scream is sincere or facetious or A Thing. I’m one of the few who appreciated her SNL performance even if it did feel a bit like she was cosplaying rock and roll. So many artists do that nowadays!

And don’t worry, I will definitely listen to this. Thanks for highlighting it with a great review!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah agreed tbh (@Row), Real Pain lays down gloom and chaos in a much less conveniently-streamlined-towards-[first time only]-big surprise fashion and also plays a very different role in sequencing; i feel I Know The End v much relies on being bought into as an epic closer, whereas this album is just like nah we're just getting started here. that said, bringing it up as a negative comparison makes sense and now we all know which is better, so that's cute

plus that dronestrike of a perky coda is the most gutsy thing on either track imo

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2021


45800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

agreed the switchup back to uptempo honestly had me in shock the first listen lmao. incredibly good



and yes I support female indie screaming supremacy too (how aren't Sharon Van Etten - Seventeen and Big Thief's Contact everyone's go-to examples I don't understand)

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2021


3775 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love you.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2021


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the supremacy of the long and noble tradition of screamo indietharsis ladies starts and ends with PINK my dear boi

treos777
August 30th 2021


480 Comments


i really like this but it's giving me the same vibes as foxings new release good but not as good as her last record imo / will probably have to spin this more, but have you heard the audiotree live version of 17 it goes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqCelxqU45s

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2021


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not sold on that Foxing comparison i cannae lie. among other reasons, this doesn't strive to be remotely as anthemic and its hooks aren't as one-dimensional



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy