Review Summary: Not even the harsh realities of daily life can force this band to deliver anything other than another warm, comforting collection of songs.
Eisley’s music has always been the kind of thing that you could listen to after a hard day and almost immediately feel relaxed. Such is the power of the DuPree sisters’ voices and the lush, laid-back music that accompanies them. This has allowed their albums to consistently provide a pervasive atmosphere of uplifting serenity – an escape from the real world. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise once you consider the fact that they started as the house band for their local church, and despite their subsequent fame, they’ve never really strayed from their wholesome beginnings – although it should be stressed that they’re not considered a Christian band. Eisley’s third album, The Valley
, still retains the same formula that made past albums so comforting, but harsh reality has finally created a bit of grey around the edges.
The promotional material that accompanies this album is quick to point out that just about every member of this band has endured some sort of tribulation and/or hardship since the release of their sophomore album and it is definitely apparent. That statement isn’t supposed to imply that Eisley have suddenly become edgy or jaded, though, because nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that buried within a sound that is still very much focused on the sweet vocals of the DuPree sisters is a feeling that life hasn’t been nice lately. The album’s second track, “Smarter”, sums it up perfectly when Stacy sings, “If I sound angry, I’m sorry. This body can only cry for so long. And if you want to blame me, then go on. I’m smiling now because I’m smarter than you think.”
In order to capitalize on the blunt lyrical content, the band pushes towards a more riff-oriented direction than a majority of their previous output. Of course, these riffs are still contrasted with melodious backing vocals and subtle piano flourishes that help maintain the peaceful atmospheres that the band are really known for. In fact, no matter how dismal things become, the band never loose sight of what really makes them special.
Clean, crisp guitars mix with harmonized vocals; keyboard and piano provide comforting ambience, and leisurely tempos deliver graceful lyrics all in an effort to create an overall sound that is smooth and full of hooks. Eisley’s range of influences seem to pull as much from bands such as The Carpenters
or The Beatles
as they do any modern act, and it’s what allows them to stand out. It’s what gives songs such as the title track its lush uplifting feel and the ability to come off as playful, yet intelligent. It’s the reason “Kind” can come off like a modern reinterpretation of an old-time love song with its bubbly piano melody and Broadway play-like violin accompaniment. This is the same formula the band had already perfected by the time they released their debut, and a little bit of grey around the edges certainly wasn’t going to ruin it. No – as opening track “The Valley” clearly displays, a few bumps in the road of life aren’t going to suddenly force Eisley to deliver anything other than the uplifting, relaxing music that they’ve always excelled at.
It’s hard to find any real faults with Eisley’s latest album, The Valley
. Sure, it’s essentially the same formula that they’ve always used, but that’s probably what most fans would like. Nobody wants to see Eisley lose the endearing warmth that makes their music so easy to listen to, and on The Valley
nobody is going to have to. Granted, the album is less cheery and a bit rougher around the edges, but the core sound is still quintessentially Eisley. What really matters is that The Valley
is full of the kind of music that you can throw on at the end of a rough day and feel immediately at peace – harsh realities be damned.