The Exchange, a four men band, has already has had a niche following in the Pacific Northwest since their inception in 2010. Apparently their dynamic stage performances and their 2011's debut "Show Me How to Live" EP have been causing quite a stir among those who have been exposed to the music of this quartet. With the release of their sophomore effort "The Exchange," an EP of 6 new originals, they are poised to capture the hearts of an even wider audience. Helmed by Brooks Paschal former of the Sullivans, this record checkmarks everything that makes a great Christian rock record: tight and loud guitars, killer choruses and songs that are spiritually weighty packed with lots of challenging truths grounded in Scripture. Though comparisons are often caricatured, but for the sake of the uninitiated, the Exchange sounds like they have been weaned on Switchfoot and Lifehouse. Although rock is their template of choice, on this newly released EP, they have charter into farther sonic pastures including congregational worship and some mainstream radio pop.
Anchored by "Tell Me Your Story," this lead single is already gaining traction with radio. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out why this paean has the moniker "classic" written all over it. Lyrically, "Tell Me A Story" is a double storied gem. On one level, the song can be read as a man offering unconditional love to a troubled friend with lots of comforting lines such as "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 current, here's my hand." On a higher level, the song can be seen as words spoken by God to all of us who have been storm-tossed by the ocean of sin. Don't let the relentless drumming and the huge guitar sound paste right over the lyrical concerns of "My Vision." Again the lyrics of "My Vision' belies the youthfulness of this quartet as they hit idolatry right on the head. "My Vision" is a somber reminder that sometimes in our prideful obsession with ourselves, we miss God's vision for us which is far larger than what we could even fathom.
"Brand New Day" finds the Exchange taking some stylistic jump to a more accessible pop sounds quipped with some stuttering dance beats and an aggressive rhythmic base. Calling to mind Lamentations 3:23, "Brand New Day" is a call of celebration of God's promises which are new each day. While the quartet moves into the worship genre with the Matt Redman-esque "Beautiful King." Of note also is the wonderful use of choir towards the end of this song that shows that the music of the Exchange knows no boundaries. Fans who like a kinetic blast of punk rock will be in a fest with the rowdy "The Earth Will Shake." Though there are only 6 songs on this EP, lyrically and sonically the Exhange covers such a diverse range of topics, styles and genres that you can hardly get tired of listening to over and over again. And with such ingenuity, boldness and Godliness, this EP will and deserves to receive a wide circulation.