The guitar-drums-vocals-only minimalist approach is well known by now, but The Exchanges have taken the formula one step further. They remove melody almost completely from the equation in an attempt to solidify their balls-to-the-wall aesthetic, which they lovingly call smash rock. While this high-octane sonic assault probably comes off, er, smashingly live, on disc it sounds a little too much like an early Soul Asylum demo recorded in Dave Pirner's basement on a Yorx stereo system. Trading hooks for watts is risky, and while lead belter Andrew DeVillers sure can scream and Rob Balon hits the skins so hard you'd think they'd tried to move in on his woman, the risk ultimately backfires.
The Exchanges play the El Mocambo Friday (March 18).