Plankeye is a band that since the early 90s has been pumping out edgy pop/punk music on Tooth and Nail Records. But when frontman Scott Siletta left the band to form Fanmail a couple years ago, Plankeye members Luis Garcia and Eric Balmer were left to carry on the band themselves. In 2000, Relocation was released on BEC Recordings and featured the two men reinventing the name Plankeye to spell thoughtful and inventive modern rock. With their 2001 release, Strange Exchange, with 2 more members, the band has released an equally thoughtful release that will not be overlooked and will simply carry the band further to a brighter career under the spotlight.
Opening with "This Is," Strange Exchange is off to a good start with a radio-friendly tune with super catchy edgy pop/rock guitar hooks. "The Meaning of It All" keeps the flow going with it's catchy, upbeat rhythm and is followed by the more melodic "Chemicals and Sleep" where the vocals are more emotional and subdued as an-almost gritty hush. "My Wife" is a surprisingly short, odd ballad that is simply vocals accompanied by an acoustic. The following tracks are often subdued melodic rock tracks never showing the life that began the CD but rather act as more emotion-driven tunes. Unlike Siletta, Garcia's vocals tend to lack the character that existed there. While the music is often strong, it's the vocals that end up hindering the impact of the track's delivery.
The 8-minute track "My Daughter" is a hauntingly intriguing rock ballad. It is here where the vocals seem most at home. Although never being all that extraordinary, Garcia's vocals exhibit perhaps the most emotion out of any of the other 9 tracks on the album. A brilliant finale to a good album, "My Daughter" ends Strange Exchange and leaves the listener with the knowledge that the band still has a lot to offer and I'm willing to be they'll still be around in the years to come.- Review date: 3/21/01, written by John DiBiase
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