Indigo De Souza used to fear the reaper. Death haunted her first two albums, 2018’s I Love My Mom and 2021’s Any Shape You Take, lurking in all her relationships. Ruminating on our collective impermanence can be humbling, but for an artist preoccupied with existential doom from an early age (“Why do we die?” she asked in a childhood letter addressed to herself), it’s evidently also liberating. “Accepting you are a temporary thing is what gives way to meaning and intention and connection,” she said in a recent interview. The title of her third record, All of This Will End, is a mantra born from an obsession with finality and a reason to swing for the fences, pushing De Souza to elevate her once quiet bedroom recordings to their stadium-sized potential.
De Souza wrote her first two albums in relatively short succession, but the pandemic forced her to take space between the bursts of creativity that became All of This Will End. That period also saw the departure of her original bandmates, multi-instrumentalists Jake Lenderman and Owen Stone, which resulted in its own form of creative isolation. “I felt really scared and alone, because I had been convinced that those people were the only people for me,” she said about their exit after recording her second album.
In the absence of her former collaborators, De Souza sounds more self-assured, no longer just hinting at dance pop but embracing it with effervescent synths and propulsive electronic percussion. The subdued folk-electronica that she introduced on Any Shape You Take returns as incandescent dream-pop on opener “Time Back”; padded synths give way to ricocheting drum loops that evoke the wide-eyed exuberance of M83. “Smog,” a pillowy dance song about finding joy in the solitude of the night, reflects the pandemic delirium in which it was written, her compressed vocals softening the snap of a snare drum, recalling indietronica forebears Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. When she hits the chorus—“I come alive in the nighttime”—her falsetto wavers, clipping in its upper ranges, like a fevered bedroom performance on a Zoom rave.
De Souza’s strength as a lyricist is her ability to extract universal truths from small moments. Rather than begin her “L.A. model fuckboy” kiss-off “You Can Be Mean” at the peak of her anger, she opens with a familiar scene of pointing a relative stranger to the bathroom in her apartment, setting up a trope of a lighthearted hookup that she upends on the verse’s final line: “Thank you for trying to be polite/But, babe, I think we’re already past that.” She builds intimacy with small disclosures—“I eat too much when I’m lonely/I bury everything” on “Smog”—and even her broader declarations feel honest as a result. “And I’m not sure what is wrong with me/But it’s probably just hard to be a person feeling anything,” she sings on “Parking Lot.”
De Souza operates at an almost jarring level of earnestness, one that could be cloying if not for her elastic vocal delivery. She cuts words tersely on “Wasting Your Time,” her ode to self-doubt, but then elongates the consonants on “Not My Body” until her voice sounds like a warm hug. “Who gives a fuck? All of this will end,” she sings in a lower register on the title track, underscoring the ambiguity separating resignation and acceptance.
De Souza worked with local Asheville producer Alex Farrar and an ensemble of new collaborators who feel pivotal to the shift in her sound. Alex Bradley’s trumpet on “Parking Lot” adds triumphant warmth to a song about having a panic attack, and a chorus of whistles function like backup singers on “You Can Be Mean,” sharpening the daggers in her lyrics. John James Tourville weaves the gentle sigh of a pedal-steel guitar into the album’s latter half, and De Souza finds new depths to her songwriting in these plaintive moments. “Younger and Dumber,” the slow-burning ballad that closes the album, is unlike any song in her catalog, tender in its quiet power. Written as a letter to De Souza’s younger self, it begins as timid self-talk, her falsetto cracking, laced with the queasy nostalgia of watching home movies and mourning childhood innocence. Her voice rises, catching on the line, “Sometimes I just don’t wanna be alone/And it’s not cause I’m lonely.” She sings the last word over two notes, and as if a switch is flipped, the song gains momentum. As the percussion and the pedal steel pick up, she finds a soulful, almost mournful, power in her voice. “And the love I feel is so powerful,” she belts, as if willing it into existence.
Just as pronounced as joy and sadness is a sense of indignation; after all, in the process of grieving, anger comes before acceptance. “I’d like to think you got a good heart and your dad was just an asshole growing up,” she sings on “You Can Be Mean.” A younger De Souza might have been more forgiving, but she now knows better than to pull punches: “But I don’t see you trying that hard to be better than he is,” she sneers, twisting the knife. Any Shape You Take’s “Real Pain” featured her friends’ screams as a form of collective catharsis, but on “Always,” she owns her anger, and her pain, alone. Written about De Souza’s fractured relationship with her often absent father, the song starts as a near whisper. But about halfway through, a jolt of distorted electric guitar crashes in and De Souza’s curdled, guttural howl takes hold. “Father, I thought you’d be here,” she roars, any apprehension annihilated by her fury. “I thought you’d try,” she howls, her voice nearly breaking. It’s a discomfiting listen: In bearing witness to her agony, there’s a kind of transference of pain that occurs in her shredded screams—the sound of an artist stepping into her shadows in order to find her light.
All products featured on Pitchfork are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.