The Exchange is a Keeper | Posted September 09, 2013 Staff Reviewer
With all the new acts regularly sneaking their way onto the Christian music scene in any given year, it's easy for many of the good indie bands to get lost in the shuffle. Yet every artist has to start somewhere, and there are often a slew of gems with a good deal of talent and potential waiting to break forth into the spotlight.
While it's not their first EP, the Exchange's self-titled release is essentially serving as the major introduction to them. Right off the bat, there are definitely familiar influences from both the rock and pop ends of the spectrum blended nicely into a fairly accessible package.
"Feel It In Our Hearts" is a fine introduction to the band with a catchy chorus and a safe middle ground between the rock and pop. Given that the band is still fairly new, it's easy to forgive the overall safe feel of the track and most of what follows. There aren't too many stylistic risks but the sound the band offers is still likable and pulled off quite effectively.
"Tell Me Your Story" opens with a key-driven intro with the pop chants joining in soon after. A worthy single candidate, the encouraging chorus lyrics are definitely album standouts: "Tell me the story about those scars / where you have been and who you are / feeling like we are worlds apart / but I will listen / like a ship that can't find land / I'll be your courage, here's my hand / give you the strength in which you stand / and I will listen."
"Brand New Day" continues the pop/rock feel and keeps the album's momentum going. "My Vision" offers an industrial rock opener that's especially ear-grabbing. The song itself follows a similar path to the previous songs, perhaps with the rock amped up a bit, which the band pulls off quite well. The added edge works well with the band's musical strengths. There's also a curious hair of screaming present in this (and in the next song) that is so fleeting that you could easily miss it both times. While it's commendable for the band to take the risk in an otherwise fairly safe album, it's also a bit out-of-place. It might satisfy some more rock-oriented listeners, but it definitely clashes a bit with the safe, polished sound that the band establishes throughout the record. Still, it's not even noticeable enough to worry much about.
"The Earth Will Shake" still provides some fine energy to the EP with a heavier guitar sound driving the anthem. "Beautiful King" closes out the EP was a simpler and straight-up worship ballad that checks all the necessary boxes for a CCM hit and does so without sounding boring. This would be another good candidate for a radio single given its accessible nature.
All of the songs here are enjoyable and pleasant offerings and there's definitely musical and lyrical talent for something truly great in subsequent releases. This is an act to keep an eye on. In the meantime, these six songs are a worthy place to dive in.
Song to Download Now:
"Tell Me Your Story" (Get it on iTunes here.)