Miss Grit: Impostor (Self-Released) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

Miss Grit



Mar 10, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Even the most talented and successful among us often have to fight the nagging suspicion that it was all a fluke. Or even worse, that acclaim was the result of an unintentional deception, a facade that has to stay up at all times at risk of being found out. That feeling of impostor syndrome is nothing new for Miss Grit, a.k.a. Margaret Sohn.

As a Korean-American raised in the overwhelmingly white suburbs of Michigan, she contended with an overwhelming feeling of otherness, one only compounded when she felt like a “basic white girl” in the diverse metropolitan neighborhoods of New York City. While studying music production at NYU, Sohn recorded her debut EP Talk Talk, adding to the impostor syndrome when it earned praise from critics. Sohn was left feeling like “someone who was impersonating a musician,” as she puts it. With her newest EP, Impostor, Sohn brings the lingering doubts, the internal crises of identity, and the pain of self-discovery to the forefront, excavating them with a polished self-produced set.

Despite the searing nature of the subject matter, Sohn’s writing is tight and economical, acting almost as a stream of consciousness, her most inward observations buried in the swirling chaotic instrumentals. She often delivers her lyrics in tightly wound repetition, posing probing observations or inward confessions that build in intensity as the song goes on. “Blonde” begins by addressing the internal tension of Sohn’s mixed heritage, as Sohn whispers, “I wish I was blonde” over a spacey minimalist guitar riff. Over the six-minute runtime, that riff builds to an impressive complexity, as Sohn insists over and over on the three-minute outro, “I have nothing to say.” Meanwhile, “Dark Side of The Party” turns her gaze outward toward the strange breed of people who are actually comfortable at a dinner party. While the other guests socialize, Sohn repeats to herself like a mantra, “Calm down, lie down/My body/Slow down, shut down/The party.”

What Sohn doesn’t say herself, she lets her instrumentals say for her. Sohn’s guitar playing is a character unto itself here, building tense wiry riffs into towering instrumental climaxes that then release into flashy melodic hooks. “Grow Up To” could work just as well as a purely instrumental track, especially with the call and response guitar riffs mirroring the sparse vocal melody. The song’s initial distorted guitar drone slowly morphs into something more playful, filling the track’s empty space with crunching guitar tones and tribal drumming.

Sohn has also been earning a lot of apt comparisons to St. Vincent and Mitski. The spacey textured soundscape of “Don’t Wander” could fit seamlessly on Mitski’s Be the Cowboy, while Sohn’s jagged guitar theatrics on “Buy the Banter” owe a lot to the expressive song structures of St. Vincent. Despite the clear points of reference, Impostor is Miss Grit through and through. Partially as a way to fight the encroaching impostor syndrome, Sohn chose to self-produce the whole EP. Even more than her previous record, this EP is a product of her own internal creative drive.

While this results in a release that’s often searching and insular, Sohn reveals multitudinous depths with the sounds and textures she deploys. Sohn’s music tech knowledge arms her with an uncommon array of textures on Impostor. A barrage of explosive guitar tones, textured synths, and heady atmospheric style envelops the listener but never overwhelm. If anything, it seems like Sohn is capable of going even further and adventuring into more challenging waters with her production.

Though Impostor was borne out of a feeling of inadequacy, it improves in nearly every way the Talk Talk EP. With only two EPs out now and an adventurous sound to explore deeper into, it is evident that Miss Grit’s best work is ahead of her. While we wait for that defining work, though, Impostor proves to Sohn’s fans, and hopefully, to herself, that success was far from a fluke. (missgrit.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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