Hit the Stage (Independent)
Orson Welles famously promised that his vintner would “sell no wine before its time”. Of course, that company soon went out of business, so one doesn’t want to wait too long, either. Still, it would be generous to say that Liam Sturgess’s EP Hit the Stage is too green for the picking.
In his songs and self-promotion, Sturgess comes across as a likable, sincere young man, and with some discipline his musical ideas may yet go somewhere. On these seven numbers, however, he plays all the instruments—not well—and does most of the singing, only some of it in tune.
The cuts mostly run in the strummed-guitar vein, which is fine, but it’s exceedingly odd to find two folky, introspective songs sandwiching an aggressive rap number (dominated by producer Alex Balanko), especially since “Soldier” distorts its way into twice the volume of “I Don’t Know” and “After Midnight”. (And where have I heard the latter title before?)
The aspirational lyrics are preachy and repetitive, but Sturgess’s tone is pleasant when he’s not singing off-pitch and out of rhythm. The piano-based “Live (Or Die Trying)” is a musical-theatre–style song (sample lyric: “Now that there’s nothing left/but my skeleton to hide me”) that works best as a Glee parody.
Hopefully, with a little more time to grow, he’ll be glad to put this Stage behind him.