Review Summary: Houston, we have a problem.
It’s mildly surprising that Eisley have taken this long to come up with a studio release whose title references outer space, particularly given that the band’s name takes after a city from the Star Wars franchise. Yet the title of Eisley’s latest EP could just as easily be describing its contents: Deep Space
sees the five DuPrees charting a wide reentry path through the universe that they had previously created for themselves via Room Noises
, and last year’s The Valley
. Vocal harmonies soar once more above a series of dissonant guitar lines and inoffensive drumbeats, and the songwriting ticks all the boxes required to become an oft-repeated science.
It’s the safest thing since airbags, to be sure, but there’s also a tangible lack of friction, and a lack of friction often means no heat. Accordingly, Deep Space
frequently comes across as sterile, cold, and willfully empty. The lofty introduction that is opening track “Lights Out”, for instance, bobs along solely on the rhythmic strength behind Stacy DuPree’s opening chant of “Away with me/Away with you/Away with sight and all its darkness
” – which would be fine, if it didn’t itself approach metronomic levels of redundancy. Elsewhere, “Laugh It Off” is a less fiery version of The Valley
’s “Smarter”, whereas “192 Days” swaps lyrical sophistication for some orotund bluntness. “Baby, you’re still driving me crazy
,” wheedles Stacy DuPree, as a stately two-note guitar riff hums in the background. At once underwhelming and bizarrely mundane, it practically sums up the sensations that come from listening to this EP: instead of the dreamy and ethereal surrealism its title suggests, we’re frequently left floating listlessly in a void.
The title track provides for the EP’s greatest disappointment. Described by the band as a song about a couple going into space to live together, the track opens in a typical Eisley manner, with Stacy DuPree emoting herself over atmospheric surroundings before her band starts to build musically and up the tempo. Later, she and sister Sherri trade vocal harmonies over a chorus, complete with a thick down-tuned guitar throttling deep into the mix, as if Manchester Orchestra’s Robert McDowell had dropped by the studio to contribute a few parts. Unfortunately, it all sounds nothing like the vainglorious, whimsical epic that the song’s setting leads you to expect it to be; in fact, for a taste of hope and excitement, your time would probably be better spent reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
. Forget outer space; this EP doesn’t even have enough fuel to make it out of the atmosphere.