Alter The Press!


Album Review: Stagehands - The Silent City

'The Silent City' is basically High School Musical on crack. I should start out by explaining that this album is about as concept as a concept album can get. It basically starts out with a young songwriter heading to a land of Entertainment and Fortune; Laconia. (Bear with me here) Only when he gets there he finds out that the Mayor of Laconia is a repressive individual that forces anyone seeking fame to conceal their identity by wearing a mask.

Stagehands is not a band, it’s more of a cast, with each character being played by a separate voice, and in all honesty it’s not that bad. The music throughout is consistent, powerful and catchy, using a variety of instruments ranging from the sea shantyesque ‘Sailor man, Sailor man’ with good use of harmonicas to the effective use of keys and synths in the ABBA influenced ‘Ashley/Searching/La Bibliotheque’ with a chorus that in all honesty is absolutely fantastic, it’s a shame that it’s followed by the complete bore that is ‘Island Fever’.

Opening track ‘It’s the Start’ is actually quite awful, the rock style music does not go with the female voice that starts out; you almost want to give up at the first hurdle it’s that bad, but from there on in its improvement after improvement. ‘The Commercial’ is probably one of the better tracks on the record and ‘Welcome to our Town’ although initially annoying with its repeated introduction is another solid song.

The role of the Mayor is played with suitable menace as portrayed in ‘The Mayor’ and ‘The Threat’ and the cast do a good job in conveying the emotions needed to make this album a success, more notably in the hopeful defiance of the songwriter in ‘Petty Games/Worries Grow With Time/Nothin’s Wrong’ which is a song that sounds a bit like The Hush Sound in places and again with the hopelessness conveyed in ‘Not Alone’ a ballad type song that is a suitable come down from the full blast of the production we’ve been given so far.

The climax of the show is set up superbly with ‘Set a Fire’ basically a prelude to the citizens of Laconia revolting against the Mayor, a plan that the Mayor finds out in epic ‘The Riot’ and as you expect, for such a dramatic album, the rest follows suitably with a story of an epic uprising in ‘Now or Never’ where the struggle between the Mayor and the young hopefuls come to a head and defeat him by, ahem, taking off their masks. ‘Curtains’ suitably ends the show with a song of success yet for some reason the young songwriter (now the King of Laconia..I think) isn’t happy with the residents.

The problem with The Silent City is that it has no longevity factor whatsoever, it’s a gimmick at best and not one that everyone will receive well, the storyline is laughable, in fact I struggled to write seriously about it at all, but the music is so, so good throughout with Ashley/Searching/La Bibliotheque’ being a massive favourite.

All in all, for what it is, it’s a very good listen, obviously with the whole High School Musical phenomenon eating up everything in the pop scene it was worth a try for somebody to attempt to bring it to an alternative market. In all honest though, had it been called 'High School Musical 7: Efron Goes Punk' there wouldn’t really have been much difference.


'The Silent City' by Stagehands is available now.

Official Website.

Chris Marshman

Alter The Press!