The worlds of rock and heavy metal are awash with guitar virtuosos, so much so that it’s quite easy for upcoming guitarists to get lost in the mix. In short, it takes a special talent to rise to the top and such a prodigy has appeared in the shape of Sophie Lloyd. Years of practising the six string in her bedroom have finally paid off in the shape of new album Imposter Syndrome, a record that will undoubtedly bring her greater attention and inspire countless imitators.
Attesting to a sense of urgency, this album doesn’t waste time on fancy introductions or lengthy preambles, preferring to land the knockout blow instantly with opening track ‘Do Or Die’. It’s the perfect mission statement, both musically and lyrically, and hits us right between the eyes with a nice meaty riff, and then proceeds to dazzle us with some nifty solos, before flitting between the two like a heavyweight boxer who is fleet of foot. Whilst many guitar talents can concentrate too much on the technical aspect of playing and try to cram an inordinate amount of notes into the shortest time frame, this can result in a sound that’s totally devoid of human emotion. Yet, Sophie has hit on a happy medium and this is largely due to her ‘less-is-more’ style; like all good guitarists she understands that sometimes it is not what you play what you don’t, a musician who leaves space for the listener to infer their own meaning is far more interesting than one who scrawls their sound everywhere and Sophie is wise enough to punctuate tracks such as ‘Pressure’ with plenty of unoccupied room. This serves to pull the listener in and create a collaborative affair between artist and consumer, and it is in these sparse moments where the album’s emotive quality comes to the fore.
It is testament to Sophie’s standing in the metal world that she’s attracted some of the biggest names to make guest appearances to these tracks, and each song does indeed feature a top “name”. Therefore, The Black Crowes’ Chris Robertson adds his wonderful whisky-croak to the bluesy ‘Let It Hurt’, Steel Panther’s Michael Starr gets low down and sleazy on the feel good ‘Runaway’ whilst Trivium’s Matthew K. Heafy adds a touch of menace to the thrash-infused ‘Fall Of Man’. It is these guest spots that turns Imposter Syndrome into a multidimensional listen and ensures it holds our attention across eleven shapeshifting songs. Sometimes critics can overanalyse music and read too much into music, so occasionally it is advisable to step back and just admit that a cut such as ‘Avalanche’ is a great, great, great, great song. ‘Judge And Jury’ brings the album to a strong conclusion, ensuring that a romp up and down a fretboard has rarely been this exciting.
Imposter Syndrome belies its title and proves Sophie Lloyd the real deal.
- Do Or Die (feat. Nathan James)
- Pressure (feat. Brandon Saller)
- Imposter Syndrome (feat. Lzzy Hale)
- Let It Hurt (feat. Chris Robertson)
- Runaway (feat. Michael Starr)
- Fall Of Man (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
- Lost (feat. Cole Rolland)
- Hanging On (feat. Lauren Babic)
- Avalanche (feat. Trevor McNevan)
- Won’t You Come (feat. Marisa Rodriguez)
- Judge And Jury (feat. Tyler Connolly)