Album review: Sophie Lloyd – Imposter Syndrome

British shred sensation Sophie Lloyd cements her rocket-fast rise with headbanging debut that features an A-Z of famous friends…

Album review: Sophie Lloyd – Imposter Syndrome
Steve Beebee

She may be one of several rising stars to have emerged from the online world, but there’s nothing ‘virtual’ about Sophie Lloyd’s talent. It hasn’t gone to her head – she understands that music is about songs and hooks – but when she unleashes that shred of hers, it’s somewhere between Judas Priest crunch and squeal and the unshackled genius of Extreme legend Nuno Bettencourt. With each of the 11 tracks featuring a star guest, it’s clear the British muso is attracting a wealth of interest, names like Lzzy Hale, Black Stone Cherry's Chris Robertson and Trivium's Matt Heafy queuing up to be part of her story.

The title-track, fronted by Lzzy, and some of the other songs address Sophie’s past – that she only became this good because she felt ostracised from ‘normal’ social circles and spent all her time practicing guitar. Looking at her now, it’s hard to believe, but it’s a reminder that superficial things like appearance can give no indication of the pain someone’s experiencing.

The album boasts several bangers – the best is obviously Runaway, fronted by Steel Panther’s brilliantly ridiculous Michael Starr (c’mon, we’d all like to be him for a week or two, wouldn’t we?). Also up there is the predictably heavy Fall Of Man, featuring Matt, and Do Or Die, a splendidly riff-heavy opener that benefits massively from the stonking pipes of classic rock dude Nathan James. A less likely highlight is Won’t You Come, anthemic hard rock candy that sees Sophie reunited with Marisa Rodriguez, with whom the guitarist briefly played in Marisa And The Moths, and it’s clear the chemistry is still there.

As bright as the musicianship shines, the writing is too predictable elsewhere. It’d be great in future to hear Sophie wrap her talents around something acoustic, or against elements of electronic rock, anything except rock-by-numbers. Imposter Syndrome is nevertheless an impactful and worth-waiting-for arrival.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Van Halen, Extreme, Mötley Crüe

Imposter Syndrome is out on November 10 via Autumn Records

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