19 Sep 2021
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Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: The Hole in Your Head

08 Feb 2020 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
Shannon Coulomb, Scott Nicolson and Ryan Culleton form the components of Imposter Syndrome. Coulomb chose the name as a kind of pact that nothing will get in the way of releasing music. Following last year's Notion, their second single, The Hole in Your Head, is a post punk flavoured exploration of the loss of faith in large institutions. It sounds like a good song for your jogging playlist if you like to do your morning run through space warps drenched in paranoid sweat.

I have a lot to say about the opening:
The fade out is a time-honoured cop-out ending to a song and so it's cool to see such an innovative use of fading. It seems like such an obvious idea after you hear it: Fade in.

What's interesting about this approach is that hitting it straight into these pieces would forfeit the opportunity for an intro build. Plenty of songs do come straight in to achieve that full frontal assault feeling and it's a legitimate technique, but the fade in lets The Hole in Your Head strikes a unique balance between having control over the opening dynamic and bringing in many elements right off the bat. Rather than the textbook approach of introducing a main beat or melody and adding elements every few bars you have a whole plate of aspects to interpret well into the first 30 seconds, but the volume swell makes it feel balanced and palatable.

I'm a big fan of hearing the kind of delay laden mind bending effect swirl on top of a propulsive beat that
The Hole in Your Head offers. Often artists will choose to make a compromise between either having a driving. rhythmic, immediate, heart pounding song or a wafty, lucid dream pool of shoegazing trip out. Combining both approaches as effectively as this lets the listener ride the wave of mind altering aural receptor trickery at the same time as their blood pressure and heart rate explodes. Really, it's a better feeling than either of those alone.

The comedown at the end of the song swims in echoes and afterthoughts. It's an outro that begs listening to right until it dies all the way down. The vocals hit me as if they might be what Big Black's Steve Albini would have sounded like had he honed his singing more. Also, the way that the vocals sit a little back in the mix and allow themselves to assimilate into the overall aftereffects of the music is a great choice. They still sit prominently enough as the vocals in a song but allow room to be part of the over-all impact like another instrument.

I'm a fan of the track, a big fan of the sound and I'll be keeping an eye out to see what comes out of this band next. As an offering to help ease Imposter Syndrome's sense of imposter syndrome I'd also like to say this: You tricked me guys, I think you sound legitimate.
Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Impostor Syndrome

Thursday September 17, 2020

A big congratulations to our drum wielder Scotty and his wife Caitlin on the arrival of their beautiful baby girl. If you know him, you know he was born for this job. Can't wait to meet her! In the meantime, we've been ticking away on new tracks. We have a pretty straight forward (for us anyway) rock song we're super excited about as well an acoustic track track that Ryan and Shannon conjured up on the spot and decided it needed to get the recording treatment. Super catchy and emotive that one. We're looking to do an NZ cover for the Radio New Zealand cover competition and then also a track that's pushing seven minutes, a piece Shannon has had brewing for the past 15 years. Sounds like an EP to us!
Impostor Syndrome is a platform to be ambitiously creative for vocalist Ryan Culleton, guitarist/synth player Shannon Coulomb, and drummer Scott Nicolson. The three Auckland musicians have been friends since secondary school and have been creating music with each other in one fashion or the other since. Shannon decided to call the project Impostor Syndrome in the initial period of the bands creation. While his attitude towards music does not represent impostor syndrome directly, he had been in musical situations previously where issues relating to impostor syndrome caused some frustrating setbacks. To name the project Impostor Syndrome was almost as a mind-hack - a reminder - to ensure nothing will get in the way of releasing music this time and so far it has been his most rewarding and productive project yet - why fix it? The trio have complete DIY roots which only helps them continue to grow as musicians, songwriters, audio engineering enthusiasts and perhaps one day as a tripped out live act.

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