McStine is no stranger to the US prog rockers having subbed in Stratospheerius on guitar, bass, and drums, and has played on recent recordings, including Soul Food from their most recent album, Guilty of Innocence, as well as their other recent single, Impostor.
Written a few months before the pandemic and all the violent and aggressive events all over the world, Cognitive Dissonance is a statement on how we allow delusional thinking to assume the worst about everybody–people willing to accept negativity even though they—initially –know it’s wrong.
“Over time, our elders teach us who we’re supposed to hate, whether on religious, racial, or politically ideological grounds,” explains Stratospheerius mainman Joe Deninzon if the new song, adding that such prejudice “can create ‘cognitive dissonance’ in anyone’s mind when they’re told their friends are ‘evil’ because they have different roots or ideologies. They’re holding opposing beliefs in their minds, ‘he’s good—he’s bad.’ Even though I wrote the song a year ago, I think it eerily speaks to recent events.”
The new video features a clay-mation story interspersed with performances from band members and McStine. The claymation work is courtesy of Patrick Carmichael, who plays drums in the NYC jazz band Flea Circus, and occasional sub for Stratospheerius, with green and red claymation characters represents opposing sides in the story.