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Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: See Everything

25 May 2023 // A review by Karl Brinsdon

Impostor Syndrome’s latest track, See Everything opens with the lonesome jangle of a twelve-string acoustic guitar, making for an interesting introduction. Such an instrument is more common in genres that don’t have the same edge as your typical alternative rock track, but when the bass and drums kick in after the first phrase suddenly the listener is transported away from acoustic folk to something much grungier. This use of ambiguity followed by a sudden contextualisation is very impactful and makes for a refreshing interpretation of the Seattle grunge clean to distortion structure. When the electric guitars come in, the fast strumming of the twelve-string combined with the droned notes shared by each chord transform it into more of a percussive instrument. It almost fills in what the drummer’s hi-hat could be doing if the beat wasn’t primarily thunderous tom rolls; the two instruments act almost as one.

Impostor Syndrome clearly decided what was important in terms of layering for the song. I never feel like any part of the instrumentation is fighting for its spot in the mix. The electric guitars are compensating for the intense rhythm section by holding chords with a lot of reverb. While the electric guitars aren’t playing a lot, the note choices convey the darker emotion of the song. Such skillful execution of economic part writing shows an understanding of the song’s meaning as well as the need to serve the song as a whole rather than draw attention to a single part.

The vocals on the track are performed with great diction. As someone who grew up playing guitar and listening primarily to guitar parts in songs, I personally find it very hard to interpret lyrics in lot of songs and I’m very pleased to say that See Everything is an exception. The note selection of the vocal melody invokes the emotion of the song to the same level as the instrumentation. As with the guitars, the vocals are an economic melodic part; there’s no flashy, fast runs or a huge display of range because to add those would distract from the songwriting. The band explain that the song is about watching the slow degradation of a relationship and the overall song gives the listener no reason to think there’s anything cheerful about the subject.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten to mention the bass part. Once the song gets going, I initially thought Impostor Syndrome had been a little too influenced by Metallica’s “…And Justice for All” and forgotten turn the fader up but upon listening again I couldn’t have been more wrong. In the intro, the bass is prominent and it’s a great melodic part, the reason it becomes less audible is because it blends in with the rest of the instrumentation seamlessly. It’s rare to come across such a melodic bassline that becomes so perfectly subtle in the context of the song.

Overall Impostor Syndrome’s See Everything is an incredible combination of instrumental parts conveying the meaning of the lyrics in a sonic context. As much as I wish I could think of a comparison for the band’s sound, as far as music I’ve been exposed to, Impostor Syndrome have a unique yet somehow strikingly Kiwi sound. Enough of my rambling, See Everything is out now so have a listen for yourself!

Rating: ( 4 / 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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