Musical darlings Eisley emerge with The Valley

4PAN1TSPBGreat music comes from great storytelling, and the members of Eisley have been biding their time for the perfect moment to tell their tales. The band’s latest effort, The Valley, is its moment. 

Eisley, made up of sisters Chauntelle, Sherri and Stacy DuPree, brother Weston, and their cousin Garron DuPree, went through a few trying times in the years since its last album, most of which involved major heartbreak.

The indie rock band from Tyler, Texas got its start playing small shows in their hometown before any of the home-schooled youth had even reached their teens. Primary songwriters Stacy and Sherri drew inspiration from the books they read and their vivid imagination, which filled their 2005 debut record, Room Noises, with lyrics that sounded pretty and were whimsical, but often had no actual meaning. Even still, the band gained a following because of their fantasy songs, as well as their melodic rock sound that made great use of the girls’ delicate voices.

Their second album, 2007’s Combinations, was a sweet album with a more diversified vibe. Though still playful sounding, the record gave the band a chance branch out of their melodic pop-rock sound and include some blues and country-inspired tunes.

The Valley, due in stores March 1, continues with the band’s natural growth progression, as it’s less cutesy, earnest and more lyrically mature. Fictional inspiration has taken a backseat to real life, so The Valley contains some of their most straightforward and autobiographical lyrics.

Material on The Valley emanates from a dark place, but the album itself does not remain dark. Instead it goes to a hopeful place: a happy ending or a show of devoted support from family who were there for each other before the darkness overcame.

Though the overall mood of the album is bittersweet, Eisley still maintains the lush, serene voices that make up their signature sound. And an even more dynamic sound comes about, as Stacy’s keys drive the chorus in the title track to compliment Weston’s intense drum beat. Strings are added for complexity.

Alliance of family is evident through the lyrics of such songs as “Ambulance,” written by Stacy for Sherri after her sister’s divorce, and “Mr. Moon,” which shares the sentiment, “Bones crack and fingers blister/I might console you, but look at my sisters/brilliant like fireflies up in their bedroom.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you know the dramatic back story to the album, or who the other party was, because by the end of the album you will be on the Eisley women’s “side, with a bullet for the bad guys (Better Love).”

But that doesn’t mean the ride the album takes you on is smooth one.

“Please” is a song that’s absolutely heartbreaking to listen to as it takes you through the tumultuous journey; starting with infidelity, “And he tells me he’s unfaithful and now/I need for you to tell me it’s all right,” to learning a lesson the hard way, a constant theme throughout the album, “And he tells me he’s faithful, but I know better now,” to finally making it work with the right person, “I’m sorry you’ve got so much against you coming into this/I appreciate your patience/… baby, lets make this one count.

“Watch it Die” is another album standout, heavily featuring guitarist Chauntelle DuPree’s vocals throughout the chorus, singing, “My love for you has died tonight/I don’t know how to own you/My love for you was faulty/Now baby just watch it die.” She hasn’t been featured this much vocally since the band’s first independently released untitled EP on which she sang “Pretender.”

Longtime fans of the family band have been waiting nearly four years for The Valley’s official release after the band went through their own drama with former label, Warner Brothers Records, which delayed the release. The band is now signed with Equal Vision Records.

The good news is The Valley was most assuredly worth the wait.

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