For the past 10 or so years, the girls in Eisley have been making music that is just as sun drenched as their homestate of Texas, thanks to the sugary sweet angel voices of the sisters Dupree (that’s guitarist/vocalist Sherri Dupree-Bemis, keyboardist/vocalist Stacy King, and guitarist Chauntelle D’Agnosto, who make up the majority of the family band with the help from male Duprees Weston on drums and Garret on bass).
The first time I heard of Eisley was back when the sisters were all blonde babes, mostly still in their teens, doing opening duty for Coldplay (though I don’t like to admit I once paid for a Coldplay concert — I swear, they used to be cool and I was real young). I remember being struck by the overwhelming beauty of the band’s melodies, not to mention the fact that the girls looked like they could have been long lost Lisbon sisters, with matching pale locks and wide, sad eyes, their gorgeous songs always tinged with a sort of melancholy (see early cut “I Wasn’t Prepared”) and occasional creepiness (“Marvelous Things”) that lent the band an eerie Grimm’s brother quality.
Time has been kind to the Duprees, with each record since the self-released EPs they were slinging at that Coldplay concert of yore charting a very clear artistic growth and progression. The girls have left the songs about dragons behind but have perfected their dreamy, fairy tale sound. On their fourth full-length release, Eisley delivers more of the same songs they’ve become known for with their extraordinary melodical grace.
If you have liked anything Eisley has released in the past, you’ll probs be crazy for Currents (Released on Equal Vision May 28th). The album is even strong enough to win over new fans, as well. As a longtime Eisley listener, however, I feel as if the difference between the band’s two songwriters, Bemis and King, has become almost too pronounced, lending the album a slightly stunted feel. Bemis embraces mainstream pop-punk sensibilities with her songs’ chugging structures, while King (who also performs with the amazing Sucre) goes for a more understated beauty on her tracks. It’s that dreamy quality that leads King to take MVP of this album, with her songs “Real World” and “Lost Enemies” lingering in the listener’s head long after the melodies have dissipated.
The more I listen to Currents, the more evident the strength of oft-underappreciated Duprees Garret and Weston becomes. Much more of an obvious standout live than on record, Eisley’s rhythm section has taken a backseat to the femme Duprees in the past. It seems that finally each Dupree is being given equal time to shine, with the aforementioned “Lost Enemies” being a standout for not only the drums and bass but also for Chauntelle D’Agnosto’s precise lead guitar.
In fact, Currents is even more of a family affair than usual. Little sis Christie Dupree (of Merriment) lends her angelic pipes to “Wicked Child” and D’Agnosto (previously the “silent Dupree”) even takes over vocals for “Millstone,” though the track sadly proves to be somewhat of a weak point on the record. Even so, D’Agnosto’s voice is just as perf as you’d except from a Dupree. I’m not sure what’s in the water down in Tyler, Texas, but I am sure that you can make many Current-worthy puns about the sisters D drinkin’ it.
The best thing about Currents is that even the least memorable tracks are very pretty and enjoyable to listen to, though at times their sweetness borders on cavity inducing. The swirling strings that lend an otherworldly quality to King’s songs (like on the lovely “Drink The Water”) tend to become too much to handle when paired with Bemis’ lyrics about love and nature (“Save My Soul” is where the album starts to falter). Overall, the album really makes me long for another full-length release by Sucre but until then, these Eisley tunes are satisfactory enough to hold me over.