CD REVIEW: Impostor Syndrome - S/T EP
By Ashley Petkovski - 09/15/2002 - 08:18 PM EDT
Artist: Band: Impostor Syndrome
Album: S/T EP
Kicking off their self titled EP in three-chords and an attitude fashion, ripping through the entire 11 (or so) minutes with absolutely no sign of slowing down, Impostor Syndrome prove that New York's underground still knows how to rock. However, it's not all about the "straight forward" rock & roll. Never faltering, or losing intensity, Impostor Syndrome’s EP showcases three stellar tracks in the traditions of post-punk noise bands, slack-jawed indie rockers, and of Pixies-popularized dynamic structures.
Impassioned and kinetic, each track on the EP swells hauntingly, constantly nearing an explosive territory. At the precise moment that you would expect a crank in volume, Impostor Syndrome suddenly and unpredictably back away, only to launch their frantic assault moments later, after your expectations have passed. It's this sort of dynamic structure along with sharp, soaring vocals, hollow, driving guitars, plodding bass lines, and drums harnessing a tense groove, that makes Impostor Syndrome's work an intriguing listen. Each chord pulls you along as Kristen Persinos, lead vocalist, writer and guitarist, employs the beautiful and volatile qualities of her voice from minute to minute. She sings with the spirit of (one of my personal favourites) Cinder Block of Tilt. Able to go from a sweet, simple melody to a feisty, yet elegant, howl, Kristen's voice has a polished tone to it, strong and wild, but smooth and graceful. Her lyrics are both mysterious (“the One”) and straightforward (“I’m with Stupid”), but sometimes overshadowed, especially during the first few listens, by the initial power of the music.
The musicianship of Impostor Syndrome also can’t go overlooked. Their style of twisting, shifting, almost imbalanced music isn’t always easy to play. Playing it with any form of proficiency, with any sort of co-ordination, must be even more complicated. Steve Kerr (bass, background vocals), Kristen and Stu Damm (the drummer featured on the EP – Ross Kantor has since taken his place) don’t miss a beat. Their timing and chemistry is excellent, each of them aware of the next sonic step.
I’ve focused primarily on the more complexly structured aspects of the music, but Impostor Syndrome also know how to deliver a direct attack, and, to put it bluntly, know how to tear you a new one. The track “I’m with Stupid” is a fangs-out, punchy, sassy anthem to the guy who spends a little too much time sleeping on your couch. It’s almost the counterpart to “Eternal Fatalist” by the legendary uber-indie rockers The Lowest of The Low, which details a slacker who’s “butt’s been three days on [the] couch,” who’s “eaten [you] out of home and house,” and who “nearly drank up all of [your] beer.” “I’m with Stupid” is the moment where said slacker gets sonically removed from said couch. In the words of Kristen, “That Hungry-Man won’t cook itself.” “I’m with Stupid” is a thing of beauty, plain and simple.
All in all, Impostor Syndrome prove that they can rock in oh-so many ways. Brazen, passionate, talented and intriguing, their self-titled EP skillfully delivers distinctive songs laced with emotive energy. A demanding, but highly rewarding, listen, Impostor Syndrome’s EP is great, albeit complicated, rock & roll.
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