Album review for “The Valley” by Eisley

            After a long break, Eisley is back with their third full length album, “The Valley.” This family affair (four siblings and one cousin) from Tyler, TX, unveil a whole new crop of beautiful songs to enjoy.

            The record opens immediately with the string-laden title track, “The Valley.” Stacy DuPree’s unique and pleasant vocals sing of love and loss. She hits some great falsetto notes during the bridge, stretching her range to its limits. Her older sister, Sherri, sounds almost identical, but her track, “Smarter,” packs more of a punch than its predecessor. A sarcastic and bitter breakup song through-and-through, “Smarter” brings some much welcomed edge to the album. The following track, “Watch it Die,” is equally as discontent in love, but instead is upbeat and piano-driven. Eisley is capable of creating some of the most beautiful melodies and the listener will find a great example of that in this song. 

            One wouldn’t think that all of the members of the band are happily married with the central theme of this album (but, they are). Nevertheless, for a musician, hardships and pain are a driving force in songwriting. “Sad” brings a darker vibe to the table and paints a, well, sad image of loneliness. Pretty piano and lively strings introduce us to “Oxygen Mask.” Stacy relents that the she is dependent upon the one she loves like oxygen: “Oh, I need you greatly. Love, you keep me alive. You keep me breathing on.” Sherri gives us more grit in “Better Love,” with her sisters providing harmonies. We also hear a small guitar solo in the bridge, which is a bit rare for this non-traditional group. 

            My personal favorite on the album, “I Wish,” is brought to us courtesy of Stacy and her creative imagery: “I watched you from afar, a blazing burning star. I came alive, a new design. The tree of life is what you are.” The bridge features some fantastic vocal and harmony work from the entire band. “Kind” slows things down and Stacy displays the delicate side of her voice in a plea to her lover: “Be very kind. Don’t let the world fall on your shoulders. If so, hopefully I would find you again.” Sherri too shows vulnerability in “Mr. Moon” and the track is probably the closest to Eisley’s niche-sound. 

            “Please” speaks of the turmoil and tension that cheating brings on a relationship. Sherri sings, “Please, oh please, don’t do this to me … don’t get over me.” The darkest track on the record is the closer, “Ambulance.” As the title would suggest, Stacy sings of the damage and hurt she receives from being rejected and forgotten. In the final moments of the song, against the backdrop of a lone piano, Stacy tenderly questions, “Am I gonna be alright? Because I know how it usually goes. I know how it usually goes…” 

            With all of its talk of lost love and past hurts, “The Valley” is a beautiful representation of two young women who still hold on to hope. They eventually found it in their current marriages, but perhaps singing about their scars helps them to heal. And one thing is for sure, it’s a fantastic tool for writing great music.

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