too girley group

Grade - 1.5

released Mar 1st, 2011

from the album - The Valley - 1.5

from all music


A family act featuring three sisters, their brother, and their first cousin, Eisley formed in 1997 when the DuPree siblings -- guitarist Chauntelle, singer/guitarist Sherri, singer/keyboardist Stacy, and drummer Weston -- began playing whimsical, dreamy alt-pop with bassist Jon Wilson. Originally called the Towheads, they began playing local coffeehouse gigs in their hometown of Tyler, TX, during the following year, when Stacy was just eight years old. Over the next five years, the group wrote and played, expanding their touring area to the Dallas-Fort Worth region and ultimately winning a 2003 Best New Act Award from The Dallas Observer. A few months later, Eisley released their debut EP, Laughing City, on the indie imprint Record Collection, and toured that spring and summer with Coldplay and Ron Sexsmith. The Marvelous Things EP arrived later in 2003, followed in early 2005 by their major-label debut, Room Noises.

Jon Wilson left the band that summer, and the DuPree siblings enlisted their younger cousin, Garron DuPree, to fill the vacant position. Garron made his studio debut on 2007's Combinations, which featured a slightly darker, more rock-oriented sound. A five-track EP, Like the Actors, followed later that year, marking the band's final release for Warner Bros. and paving the way for a new contract with Equal Vision Records. Meanwhile, the elder DuPree sisters both struggled with failing relationships; Chauntelle dealt with a broken engagement to Taking Back Sunday's Adam Lazzara, while Sherri divorced her first husband, Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, after ten months. Both experiences fueled the material on Eisley's next release, The Valley, which marked their debut for Equal Vision in early 2011.

Album Review

Written in the wake of several failed relationships -- a broken engagement for the eldest Eisley sibling, a divorce for the middle sister, and a split with Warner Bros. Records -- Eisley's third album features some unexpected dark moments. Much of the aggression comes from Sherri DuPree, whose marriage to New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert came to an abrupt halt after ten months. On Eisley's 2005 debut, she sang ballads about star-crossed lovers and enchanted forests, but Sherri ditches the storybook romance during The Valley, whose sobering song titles -- "Sad," "I Wish," "Ambulance" -- paint the picture of a girl's broken heart. The Valley isn't necessarily a gloomy album, though; most of the anger is funneled into Chauntelle DuPree's guitar riffs, whose rawness is balanced by the girls' sweet, dreamy harmonies. Co-vocalist Stacy helps even the tables, too, taking the mike during some of the album's brightest moments and offsetting her sister's pinched, emo-influenced voice with a womanly alto. Barely a teenage at the beginning of Eisley's career, she's steadily become the group's creative centerpiece, and it's appropriate that The Valley both begins and ends with her songs. But the best part about The Valley is the emotional spectrum it covers, from the Veruca Salt-ish sneer of "Sad" to the lush title track, where harmonies and strings swell in parallel motion. There's a happy ending, too: Sherri remarried two years after her divorce, followed in 2010 by Stacy, Chauntelle, and drummer/brother Weston.

Track Listing

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