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The Foreign Exchange And The Internal Inferno

The Foreign Exchange transports listeners to the internal inferno of an unfaithful lover in the sensual but scalding "House of Cards." Early on, singer Phonte Coleman croons about covering up his tracks and rehearsing his deceitful lines after returning home from a night out. His paranoia, however, finds him waging an inner war best illustrated by Mushinah's captivating wails. Here, she plays the role of not the unsuspecting love interest or the co-conspirator in the betrayal, but Coleman's guilty conscience. "I've seen the sorrow you were meant for / Your house of cards is gonna fall," she warns.

Nicolay Rook evokes a sense of claustrophobic consternation with his hazy soundscape of haunting keyboard riffs, angst-ridden guitars and jackhammer beats. The clamor nearly drowns out Phonte's voice to sublime effect as he confesses to himself: "There's no one else to blame / Your worst enemy is you."

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John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.