9 Jun 2023

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Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: Locksmith

31 Aug 2022 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Across their body of work, Imposter Syndrome have been known for their blurring of the lines between sub-genres and laying waste to the traditional ideas of song structure. Well, that’s what they’re known for to me at least.

It’s almost expected at this point, but they’ve only gone and done it again. If there is one thing you can always expect from a band that does the unexpected, it is the unexpected.

Your Facebook algorithm is probably different to mine, but do you ever see those memes where they’ve fed an Artificial Intelligence a bunch of sitcom scripts and it’s spat out its own interpretation of a script, with hilarious results. There are even YouTube channels based around this conceit now.

If you haven’t seen them, then the AI’s version of a sitcom is always strangely familiar, yet entirely alien, like an outsider’s perspective of human interaction. Kind of like Tommy Wiseau’s “real Hollywood movie”, The Room.

I’m pretty sure that’s how Imposter Syndrome make their songs. With an AI, not an eccentric millionaire.

It’s the data moshed, digitally distorted cover art that gave it away. I noticed it on their previous single Plastic Eyes but didn’t wanna say anything in case it was just my bad eyesight.

It’s becoming more obvious now that someone behind the scenes – probably riffist Shannon Coulomb - has fed a computer the entire back catalogues of Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains, and for the newest single Locksmith, a bit of A Perfect Circle too. The computer has then spat out something resembling a hard hitting alt rock song from the 90’s double denim scene.

Digital hoodwinkery aside, she's a bit more hard rock this one. Less celestial sojourning, more wig banging in leopard print bandana. There was evidence the boys had it in them at the midpoint of previous single Plastic Eyes. For Locksmith they take that intensity, and smack you in the face from the outset.

I was almost going to say chorus instead of midpoint there, but Imposter Syndrome don’t think in such linear terms. Because then there you go. We’re in out of space again. You think you know what these guys are doing, then suddenly they’re at your mum’s house.

That said, it’s the most accessible single for simpletons and newbies so far. We’ve got this hair rock vibe in the aforementioned Shan’s riffery, with some punky crooning and the spitting of words from Ryan Culleton, and a solid backbeat from Scott Nicholson. It sounds just like a great song. Some kind of soundtrack to a greasy set of overalls working on a hotrod.

But like a deep dreamed image spat out by an AI, the closer you look, the less clear things are. You realize, this isn’t a song, this is abstract art in audio form.

This aural uncanny valley is the golden zone of Imposter Syndrome. There is a hint of the familiar verse-chorus-verse structure we’re told is required to make a song, but it’s as if the wet ink of the distinct parts have blurred together, with what is essentially a 3 minute guitar solo smeared across this middle.

By my count, we’re one single away from the eagerly awaited debut of Oriens. I’m looking forward to hearing where they take us next, and even more so hearing what the whole album sounds like together. I’m anticipating more of a journey than these little trips they’ve been taking us on.

There’s even a chance these shapeshifters/their robot are going to pull one over on us and spit out something soft and soothing for the next single. You never quite know what you’re going to get with life, chocolate, and Imposter Syndrome.

If you don't know how many stars I give it, you haven't been reading. It's 5/5 of course.

If it’s after September 2nd, 2022, you can find Locksmith on the Imposter Syndrome Bandcamp.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Impostor Syndrome

Soundtracks to experiences. ~ "The band are thinkers, experimenters, and explorers. They bear the bloodline of their now nostalgic forefathers, without following their footprints into the world of tribute. They forge their own path." - muzic.net.nz

Impostor Syndrome is an experimental recording project, whose wide range of influences challenge the idea of what is commonly heard within the confines of New Zealand Progressive Rock. The band is based in Auckland, New Zealand, and blends alternative rock with film score and spoken word, described by muzic.net.nz as ‘Industrial meets Depeche Mode’. Becoming best of friends as seventeen year olds over a shared love of Alice in Chains, it took until 2019 before vocalist Ryan Culleton, drummer Scott Nicolson and multi-instrumentalist Shannon Coulomb were to create music together as a unit.

The 2020 pandemic gave the trio an opportunity to further their learning and experimenting of recording techniques, resulting in an album’s worth of music to be released in 2022. The pursuit of expression and boundless creativity, drawing from a wide range of influences, continues to be the central motivation for the band. They have also been converting a garage into their own recording facility that will no doubt keep the band busy for years to come.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Impostor Syndrome


Year: 2022
Type: Album

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