The Exchanges How Far Down

The world of trashy two-piece soul rock has always been on the cusp of a breakthrough thanks to acts such as Black Keys and Canada’s own Leather Uppers. Yet for some reason, the cantankerously lo-fi bashing of static-y cymbals and fuzzy guitars continues to mystify the masses. It’s only when the style of blues-based three-chord ditties is wrapped up in pretty production that anything seems to push past cult status, and that very element becomes its worst detractor. No one knows this better than Toronto’s Exchanges, who prefer realism and spirit to pretentiousness, even after expanding into a power trio with the addition of a bassist. Thankfully, they get it and hope that maybe a few others will in the process as well. Emitting the sensation of plugging up juke joints and booze cans with furious, loose and slightly reckless tunes, How Far Down is a feast of underground rock that blends the aforementioned scene leaders and accentuates with the swagger of early Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Showing growth as songwriters since their debut EP, the tracks here showcase sweet melodies that create a Springsteen-esque quality to what is otherwise a high-energy blast of gritty rock’n’roll delivered on equipment that should probably otherwise be seeing the bottom of a landfill site. (Independent)