November 7, 2023

While there can be no denying the incredible, mind-bending talent of guitar superstars such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and even Yngwie Malmsteen – from a listener perspective, there can be snootiness in the appreciation of their widdle-fest instrumental albums. Sure, the focus is on the playing, the mastery of an instrument that borders on the supernatural and naturally, where would rock music be without the guitar? On the other hand, if there is one common factor moan about guitarists, it will usually be “great talent but where is the song?” It is one thing to just stick a vocalist in front and another where the two are truly in harmony to create a dynamite combination that will be remembered into the ages.

Whereas Vai, Malmsteen and Satriani have been in the guitar-world consciousness for decades and who started out getting noticed in a more traditional way, there continues to be an overwhelming wealth of talent out there doing the same via the Internet and social media. Describing herself as a “bedroom guitarist”, Sophie Lloyd is one such talent who has amassed a huge following online to become a Youtube sensation which led to the British virtuoso being asked to join Machine Gun Kelly’s band but now breaks out on her own with her debut album.

There is something quite amazing going on with Imposter Syndrome. Lloyd no doubt could have easily employed a singer to bring her songs to life but instead adds star studded quality with the likes of Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Trivium’s Matthew K. Heafy and Steel Panther’s Michael Starr. There is the potential that an album that features a bunch of different vocalists may come across a patchy, hit and miss affair but the cohesion is that the songs are written with their vocalists in mind which goes to prove that not only is Sophie Lloyd a top-quality guitar player but she also has the makings of one hell of a songwriter.

Imposter Syndrome gets down to business with Do Or Die which lays down a floor scorching riff that brings both class as well as some blues and Michael Starr does what Michael Starr does best on the bump and grind of Runaway while the Matthew K. Heafy fronted Fall Of Man eeks some extra guitar details among its mid-temp stomp while the sweet (and occasionally sour) of Marisa Rodriguez vocals sits sublimely with Lloyds fretwork on Won’t You Come. Lloyd could have gone to town on the instrumentals but is incredibly restrained leaving it to the one with the guitar-anthemic Lost but the highlight must be the emotionally charged title track fronted by Lzzy Hale that not only brings the goosebumps but feels like a divine synergy brought the two together.

Sophie Lloyd & Lzzy Hale

With having such star encrusted vocal talent, it would be easy to bury the fact that a guitar virtuoso is at work here, but Sophie Lloyd manages to balance the two and along with an impeccable production creates an album that is stuffed full of songs – classic but contemporary – that are arena sized in both sound and stature. With an album title that reflects Lloyd’s doubts and anxieties – on hearing Imposter Syndrome it is difficult to believe that they even existed – but there is something humbling about such an impressive performer throwing down those insecurities in such a high-profile way.

Imposter Syndrome is more than an album, it is the marriage of guitar and vocals and one that is reaching for the stars. Not just one to watch, Sophie Lloyd is going to be impossible to miss.

Imposter Syndrome is released on November 10th via Autumn Records and is available to pre-order now.