This EP from Texas based Welsh Avenue makes for an unusual and exquisite Sunday listening experience. The songwriter combines a number of different elements that aren’t often found within the walls of a single soundtrack. The classical piano sound is the first of these to emerge, then you get these flickers of a more industrial or electronic influenced backdrop emerging, and in among everything – the vocal performance and driving structure of the songs give off something of an indie rock or alt pop vibe, and that’s all before we even get to the poetic and mesmerising nature of so many of the lyrics.
Germ Theory is the opener and it’s all of these ideas and more. A wonderful piece of songwriting, unexpected but professionally and creatively crafted, successfully fusing what is known to work and what is, in many ways, completely untouched. The following track Blue Eyes begins in a similar manner, but it’s only the energy, the creative pulse of it all, and the sound of the artist’s voice, that make it feel it familiar.
The threads throughout the project are clear, but outside of these – the rest is left to the experimental and creatively free mind of the composer. With every few bars of music there is something new to embrace and appreciate. Again, the music is unpredictable, but the moments make perfect sense once they arrive. It’s a pleasure to listen to because it’s the sort of songwriting and performance style that undeniably comes from a place of needing to write, needing to create, needing to get these ideas and melodies and riffs out of the mind and into the world, as opposed to from a place that desires a certain level of audience. It’s art for the artist, first and foremost, but experience, knowledge, and skill of what music is and how it works has led to this being a completely fresh yet entirely accessible collection of songs.
The subject matter throughout the EP is another thing that exists outside of the expected or standard pop music sound. The title track in fact has a touch of The Killers to it, the thickness of the hook, the dash of distortion, the emotional performance – it all feeds into that indie rock anthem sound, yet the lyricism pours out and away into its own world of unique expression. It makes for a hugely enjoyable fusion of ideas.
The final track of the EP is Time To Fly – it’s a great moment to close with. The storytelling draws you in from the offset, and the music that develops thereafter offers a touch of everything we’ve experienced so far – those strangely familiar threads, the creative craftsmanship; free from the confines of what is expected, free to design at will. The song has power and the louder you play it the more it seems to connect.
There are certain hints of nostalgia to the sound, reminiscent perhaps of early 2000’s indie or alt rock bands like Brand New. The emotion is explicit but the sound is so easy going, even carefree; the contrast is intriguing and hugely effective in terms of appealing songwriting.
The Great Exchange EP is a definite recommend. At just four tracks long it leaves you wanting to hear much more from the creative mind behind it – hopefully there will be further releases and live shows to check out in the not so distant future.