“Crunch Time”: EP Review

Thomas Chan and Angela Park

Above is the cover art for sophomore Evan Hughes's latest extended play, "Crunch Time." WSPN's Thomas Chan and Angela Park review the EP.

On Nov. 19, sophomore Evan Hughes released his newest extended play, “Crunch Time,” aptly named because it was written and recorded over the span of three days and completed on Nov. 11.

Hughes produced the songs, “Harmony” and “One/Time.” DC Universe, a music production group run by freshmen Chris Laven and David Tisme, produced two other songs on the EP, “Turn Up” and “Crunch Time.” The final song, “Hideaway,” is a live version.

Along with Hughes, the EP also features sophomores Thomas Leacu, also known as LeQ, and Anthony Schleppi. Sophomore Jackson Diianni drew the album cover.

Must listen: Hideaway
Song to skip: One/Two

Song: One/Two
Artist: Evan Hughes
The introduction is melodious and smooth, and the added percussion later on creates a beat to liven up the song. The only downside to the intro music is the length. The intro is a bit too long, and the actual lyrics don’t kick in until about 1/4 into the song. The voices have an echo to them, giving them an eerie and interesting sound. The deliverance of the words is very emotional, which really adds to the lyrics. During the chorus, the words have a background harmonization that enhances the voices nicely. There are a couple pitchy areas throughout the song, but overall the track is suave and nice.

Song: Turn Up
Artists: Evan Hughes ft. LeQ
“Turn up” is the main phrase of the song. Along with the echo, the repetition of the words keeps the listener hooked on the phrase. The volume of the voices varies from loud to whispered, which adds dynamics to different areas of the song. LeQ uses an interesting staccato style and has a distinct rhythm to his rapping in this song. The techno, synthesized background during LeQ’s rap is well-done too. However, in a few places, the rap doesn’t match with the beat. We also found that the background music is too loud, and it overshadowed their voices. Fortunately, the background music really pumps you up with a catchy beat.

Song: Harmony
Artists: Evan Hughes ft. Anthony Schleppi
The opening and closing consists of a unique sequence that sounds like xylophone taps. Following the opening is a beautiful orchestral background. An added beat makes it catchy and rhythmic. The lyrics flow extremely well. Both Schleppi and Hughes can hit high notes, and they harmonize beautifully during the chorus. They are only off pitch in a few places. They stylize many of their words which is really appealing. The layered lead with Schleppi’s harmony in the background gives the song a chilling effect. The auto-tune at around 2:50 is really engaging for listeners. The volume of the voices above the background music is enough for us to hear the lyrics clearly.

Song: Crunch Time
Artists: Evan Hughes ft. LeQ
The beginning drowns out Hughes’s voice a bit, but it features the instrumentals well. To some extent, the instrumentals sound techno-like, which is pretty interesting. The rapping goes at a good speed and is well articulated. It’s evident that the artists played around with the lyrics, making it fun and entertaining to listen to. The rapping is followed by some short bursts of singing. The mix of the two is rhythmic and pleasing. The sudden elimination of background music to emphasize LeQ’s rap for a solo is surprising and suspenseful.

Song: Hideaway [LIVE version]
Artists: Evan Hughes and Anthony Schleppi
This track is very well done, especially considering that it is a live version. After all the techno and pop music before it, this last acoustic song adds a down-to-Earth, raw touch that brings a different element to the EP. The various rhythms of the strumming and plucking in the guitar part incorporate a beat and interesting texture to the song. We were impressed with Schleppi’s ability to play and sing without going offbeat with his strumming. Schleppi and Hughes’s singing is precise and timely, and the synchronization is spot on. The lyrics are very well-written, and the chorus is catchy. Overall, the harmonies are really strong, and they blend well with the melody. The harmony is prominent enough to hear, but not so overbearing that it drowns out the melody. Near the end, they take away the guitar, which makes listeners focus purely on the beautiful vocals. The song ends with joking and laughing that wraps up the track on a playful, light note, similar to Ke$ha’s “Your Love Is My Drug” or Taylor Swift’s “Stay Stay Stay.”

“Crunch Time” can be listened to and downloaded on Evan Hughes’s Bandcamp page.

Leacu recently released a rap EP this September called “Summer Practice,” which can be accessed on Leacu’s Bandcamp page.