Sunday, February 27, 2011

Album Review: Eisley - The Valley

Can you think of any modern families as entrenched in music as the DuPree family is? The four DuPree siblings Chauntelle, Sherri, Weston, and Stacy all are members in the band, as well as their cousin Garron. Additionally, their father Boyd helps manage them. Chauntelle, Sherri, and Stacy have even stuck to dating and marrying well known musicians. So it would make sense that the members of Eisley are all extremely talented at what they do, and have continued to progress with every album. The Valley is full of their best material to date, as they continue expanding their sound both in the instrumental and songwriting aspects of their music.

No time is wasted in beginning the record, as Eisley doesn't deal with an intro to the record. "The Valley" immediately shows off the band's talents, layering strings and keys beneath the stunning harmonized vocals of Sherri and Stacy. "Smarter" shows off more of the whole band's talent, as the guitars and drums are of much higher priority in the mix. The guitar part stands out, drawn up differently than the rest of the music in order to stand out and accent the anger that Sherri feels about her divorce from ex husband Chad Gilbert. "Watch It Die" features Chauntelle singing the chorus, her first lead vocal appearance since the band's early life. However, nothing else about the song particularly stands out.

Luckily, "Sad" is a highlight of the album, mostly due to its uniqueness among the rest of the album. The low pitched guitar riffs accompany some of the strongest vocals on the record, as one can almost hear Sherri crying through the chorus. "Oxygen Mask" is another piano lead track, while the lyrics almost explain the vocal style of the song, as they seem like they are "breathing through an oxygen mask." The violin at the end only adds to the windy feel of the track. "Better Love" is the most upbeat song on the record, with palm muted riffs setting the tempo before the drums take over and keep the song on high gear and the album flying high.

After the average "I Wish" comes the ballad "Kind". Although the song begins stripped down with just vocals and piano, an entire string section comes in and creates one of the most beautiful moments in music so far this year with the powerful chromatic crescendo right before the second chorus. Both girls' vocals are incredible, feeling like they are crooning a baby with an enchanting lullaby. "Mr. Moon" is a fairly spacey track, featuring a building instrumentation throughout the song, climaxing at the end. The vocal style and harmonies of Stacy and Sherri also are exceptional. "Please" is an emotional track, with repetition of words to accent her extreme sadness. However, the instrumentation and hooks are subpar in comparison to the rest of the album. The closer "Ambulance" ends the album with another beautiful ballad, picking up just enough to add some extra emotion to the song without ruining the vocal priorities of the track. The sisters show just how tight their relationship is, as the song was written by Stacy about Sherri's divorce. A perfect closer, the album is brought together and leaves a listener with a feeling of emotional satisfaction and pleasant pain.

The family's experiences have been rough over the past few years. However, from divorces and heartbreak to marriages and true love, all of their events and emotions have been encased in this 40 minute record. Every type of love, sadness, hate, and anger is felt through different times in the album, and it is definitely a game changing record two months into the year.

Projected Score: 8.9/10
Revised Score (5/19/11): 8.4/10



1. The Valley
2. Smarter
3. Watch It Die
4. Sad
5. Oxygen Mask
6. Better Love
7. I Wish
8. Kind
9. Mr. Moon
10. Please
11. Ambulance


  1. Well written review, but completely disagree with a lot of what you said musically. 'I Wish' is 'average'? And there's nothing that stands out about 'Watch it Die'? Those are definitely two of the best songs on the album, and judging by the comments from people on SPIN, they definitely are the new fan favorites along with Sad probably. Either way though, very well written review.

  2. Everyone has their own opinion. I actually worked with a friend of mine on this album in forming ideas, and we actually came into agreement on those songs. Thank you for the constructive criticism though, and I hope you continue checking out the site.

  3. I hadn't noticed overwhelming specific love for any particular song on SPIN, it seemed everyone had different favorites. That really speaks volumes about this album- there's something for everyone.

    I'm confused about the comment on the absence of an 'intro', and Chauntelle is not married to a well-known musician. Otherwise this review was a good read. Thanks!

  4. She dated Adam Lazzara. I said "dated and married", when it should have been "dated or married".

    No real intro, as the vocals and full on instrumentation come straight on immediately, rather than having some sort of build up.

    Hope I answered your questions. Thanks for reading and enjoying!