Social media has no shortage of musicians displaying their often eye- popping skill and ingenuity, with the vast majority seemingly content or doomed to go no further. Yet, having a built up a massive online following that led to touring in Machine Gun Kelly’s backing band, Sophie Lloyd is now unleashing what so many of her peers are unable to: a well-produced and star-backed full-length, taking her career to the next stage.
What’s unsurprising is that her debut has such an unambiguous title, enlisting some high-profile names to negate the negatives of doubters and her own anxieties about breaking through the glass ceiling. Writing songs that suit the styles of the various singers employed to front them can result in either an irrepressible greatest hits album or a patchwork collection. And while Imposter Syndrome does conform to the latter, there’s still abundant proof that Sophie has the songwriting chops to back up her impressive fretboard acuity.
Opener Do Or Die’s bluesy, classic metal quickly allays any fears with an immediate earworm, and the raunchy strut of Runaway is the best song Steel Panther’s Michael Starr has sung on in years. While the extra widdle and bite of the Matthew K. Heafy-helmed Fall Of Man and instrumental Lost see Sophie embracing the shred, the album’s primary focus is on well-considered arena rock anthems favouring restraint. Avalanche and the Southern twang of Hanging On both live up to their swagger, while the Lzzy Hale-fronted title track adds serious emotional clout that’s tailor-made for the Halestorm singer.
Chris Robertson’s turn on Let It Hurt is a bit too Black Stone Cherry for comfort and tired closer Judge And Jury might be one song too many, but neither diminish Sophie’s star, which, on this evidence, rightfully deserves to keep ascending.
Sophie Lloyd's Imposter Syndrome is out this Friday, November 10, via Autumn Records