The Foreign Exchange: Authenticity

HBD Label Group

Its synthesized ambiance and acoustic grooves perfectly mate with steaming teas, sweater warmth and autumn chill. The third album from FE duo, Nicolay and Phonte Coleman, also is an illuminating accompaniment for those reflecting on their relationship with an eye toward the door. Naked in its honesty and declarative about love, loss, and human nature from an unabashedly male POV, Authenticity is the modern man's therapy session. That's not to say there's no light brightening its somber catharsis. Sun spots like "Don't Wait" with Darien Brockington, "Make Me a Fool" with Jesse Boykins III, and "Laughing At Your Plans" with Atlanta's own Chantae Cann delight in infectious hooks and a purifying cleanliness, despite the shadowy fears playing beneath their hopes. In voice and song-craft, Phonte claims his star. Progressive producers Zo! and Nicolay also flex an understated genius for soulful authenticity. (4 out of 5 stars)