‘Shadows,’ offers no preamble or apology to its listeners. Opening with Szou’s charismatic yet mournful invocations of cold rainy nights and shadowy corners of deserted bedrooms, her lush crooning melodies are offset smoothly by clean and yet deliciously layered electro-dance beats reminiscent of electro-pop phenomenons such as Dua Lipa or Lorde.
Evoking the odd, drifting feel of the liminal twilight hours – the creeping light of the morning when the guests have left the party – Szou speaks to a consuming sense of existentialism within her audience, and of a lack of control which offers a strange sense of freedom. The strikingly haunting, melancholy tone of Szou’s vocals are offset by jangling and bold synth hooks, while the soaring heights of the strings and layered, opulent crooning prevent Szou’s unique voice from spilling into moody teenage petulance rather than being insightful and introspective.
It is hard not to feel that Szou’s assertion, “nothing’s going to stop [her], even if it’s lonely,” could prove prophetic of an elevation to rapid commercial success. The overall feel is of elevation, confidence and a euphoric determination to offer something provocative and meaningful to a mainstream pop audience, nestled within catchy chorus’ and toe-tapping dance beats.