Indigo de Souza – All of This Will End
Pedal steel has been all over indie music in the past year or so, and it’s a glorious development. Indie dad rockers The War on Drugs have always made room for steely guitar sounds, but last year’s ILYSM from Wild Pink balanced John Ross’ devastating songs about his cancer diagnosis with subtle steel work from Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner. And Wednesday burst through with big steel riffs (courtesy of Xandy Chelmis) on this year’s best song, “Chosen to Deserve.” When North Carolina-based artist Indigo De Souza plotted out her third album, All of This Will End, she and producer Alex Farrar (who also produced Wednesday’s Rat Saw God) paired her songs of heavily guarded optimism with a sound that included more space for her bandmates, bigger guitars and, yes, just the right amount of pedal steel.
We’ll definitely get to that pedal steel (we are a country-adjacent publication, after all), but All of This Will End begins with “Time Back,” an indie-pop mourning for time lost (to the pandemic, to failed relationships, to whatever else you’ve got) that becomes a call for a make-good – “I’m sad/I’m tired/I want my time back.” Knowing this isn’t possible is, of course, the point, but don’t compound the mistake by wasting more of it – “Don’t bleed me dry/We are capsized.” De Souza’s lack of patience for BS extends to what she refers to as “f@ckboys” in “You Can Be Mean.” The jangly rocker, with excellent guitar work from Dexter Webb, damns a bad lover with faint empathy – “I’d like to think you got a good heart and your dad was just an a$$hole growing up” – while acknowledging that this particular f@ckboy isn’t going to grow up himself – “But I don’t see you trying that hard to be better than he is” – so it’s to to move on.
Fans of 90s alt-rock will feel at home on All of This Will End, both in the light fuzz of the album’s title track or trying to fight off depression and general malaise in “Parking Lot” – “And I’m not sure what is wrong with me but it’s probably just hard to be a person feeling anything.” The low-key danceable “Smog” finds the singer moving her way past pandemic-induced anxiety, even if she’s on her own – “I come alive in the night time, when everybody else is done.”
But I promised y’all pedal steel, and toward the end of All of This Will End, we get it. John James Tourville jumps on board in the cosmic “Not My Body,” which also features De Souza’s most outstanding vocal work on the record. But it’s album wrapper (and lead single) “Younger & Dumber” that really sets this record apart. The song, which starts simply enough with piano and De Souza singing of (and to) her previous self, builds as she grows and learns about what she needs and, more importantly, what she doesn’t – “Which way will I run when I’m over you?/I don’t feel at home in this town.” Over its four and a half-minute run, the song becomes a big ol’ star-makin’ power ballad which shows off De Souza’s growth as both a performer and a human being. That – and, of course, the pedal steel – make this song one of the best listens so far this year. And after you’ve enjoyed repeated plays of “Younger & Dumber, dive into the whole album – Indigo De Souza is worth your time.
Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Younger & Dumber” – It’s big, it’s an unsentimental look back at De Souza’s past and, as I may have mentioned, it’s got pedal steel.
All of This Will End was produced by Alex Farrar and Indigo De Souza, recorded and mixed by Farrar and mastered by Josh Bonati. All songs written by Indigo De Souza (“The Water” written with Dexter Webb). Additional musicians on the album include Farrar (keys, guitar, bass, drum machine, percussion), Webb (guitar, keys, drum machine, piano, whistles), Avery Sullivan (drums, percussion, whistles), Zack Kardon (bass, piano, whistles), Dave Hartley (bass), Ryan Oslance (drums), John James Tourville (pedal steel) and Alex Bradley (trumpet).
Go here to order All of This Will End (out April 28): https://saddle-creek.com/products/all-of-this-will-end?variant=43630797914330
Check out tour dates here: https://www.indigodesouza.com/tour