The Foreign Exchange – Authenticity

Authenticity is the third album from the Grammy nominated collaboration of Phonte and Nicolay, and shows a further maturation of The Foreign Exchange. If the leap from their first album Connected to second Leave It All Behind was a revolution, Authenticity is an evolution in the Foreign Exchange’s sound.

Continuing to showcase Phonte’s vocal talents, once again this is predominantly a soul album, with Phonte choosing only one track to rhyme on. A modest cast of guests includes FE Music artists Median, Darrien Brockington and YahZarah, as well as Chantae Cann and Jesse Boykins III.

If the leap from their first album ‘Connected’ to second ‘Leave It All Behind’ was a revolution, ‘Authenticity’ is an evolution in the Foreign Exchange’s sound.

The aching, often self loathing, powerlessness over love is the primary subject matter for Phonte’s tender vocals. With so many different emotions that we attach to love, each track shows that it can mean different things, at different times, to different people. The overarching moral to the LP as I saw it is that ultimately love is a two way street – a point beautifully made by the decision to put the final track to YahZarah’s solo talent.

The roller coaster ride of emotion is echoed in the instrumentals, with Nicolay’s production talents shining through a variety of sophisticated synthetic arrangements. I love how instrumentals are given room to breathe throughout the LP, with a few extended intros and outros, and poignant shorts at the end of titled tracks. I also love how totally involving the arrangements are made through really taking advantage of the stereo field, an opportunity often left untapped lately.

The Foreign Exchange go from strength to strength, and this is one of my albums of the year. Available directly from The Foreign Exchange music store on double vinyl, as well as CD and MP3 download, check out the video to the lead single below…

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