Eisley is an indie pop rock band from Tyler, Texas. The so-called family band consists of four siblings — Chauntelle, Sherri, Stacy, and Weston — and their cousin Garron. Here’s who does what:
Stacy DuPree King – vocals, keyboard
Sherri DuPree-Bemis – vocals, rhythm guitar
Chauntelle DuPree D’Agostino – lead guitar, occasional vocals
Garron DuPree – bass
Weston DuPree – drums
Currents was released during May of 2013 but for whatever reason(s) we just didn’t get around to reviewing it. There are simply far too many releases for myself and my occasional contributors to cover them all, which is why we tend to simply not cover things we don’t like, so we have more time to tell you about the things we love. But, sadly, yes, sometimes good things slide through the cracks. This is why I wish we had more writers.
The reason why I’m reviewing Currents at this time is that it deserves a review, having really grown on me during the past several months, and also because I’m seeing the band in concert at Mohegan Sun on Sunday, so I wanted to revist the album and make sure I’ve fully digested it by then.
Lyrically, Eisley have almost always had a tendency to give themes to their releases and they’ve grown progressively more grandiose with their last few. Here, they seem to be singing about literal and metaphorical currents, to which end even their music here seems to have a certain ebb and flow, such as during the dreamy “Millstone,” Chauntelle’s first full solo vocal performance, which demands that you stand up and dance in a swirly manner. Of course, I’m using the term swirly loosely, but you get the idea: it’s a spell binding number that makes you want to sway your body back and forth. You could almost even call it dream pop, though one gets the feeling that Eisley constantly attempts to elevate their music above such a subgenre distinction.
The album opens with “Currents,” which starts off with various percussive sounds that feel like you’re listening to them underwater. So it’s fitting when the first words Stacy sings are, “I would part the waters if you said so / I would shift the currents if you had to row.” It’s a lovely and romantic number, to say the least. “Do you believe in fate, baby? / Ask me / Ask me,” she sings later, her voice hitting some impressive high notes. One thing is for certain: you’ll believe in her enchanting vocals.
“Drink the Water” is an especially atmospheric number that opens with swelling strings and some of Stacy’s most tender piano notes to date. “I come from where you come from / I’ve seen all you see / Come live under my roof,” she sings. Layers of guitars help paint the vivid picture that is this song, some of them in the forefront, others in the distance. “Drink the water, my little boy,” she sings eventually, the song apparently inviting one into her world. If I read these lyrics without ever having heard the song, and without knowing who wrote them, I’d probably think they were for some sort of an induction into a cult.
Garron’s bass guitar features prominently in the light-hearted “Blue Fish.” “We all fall down,” is sang over and over again at one point where the song seems to build up and come to a climax. But then there’s a long part that has little vocals before “we all fall down” is sang repeatedly again, softly this time, until the song finally comes to its beautiful conclusion.
Later in the album, the folk-ish song that is “The Night Comes” initially proves to be a precious slow-burner. “I love you all, I love you all,” Sherri sings, her voice sugary sweet. But about halfway through the song percussion finally kicks in along with some gorgeous vocal harmonizing that will have you feeling as though you’re floating on a cloud.
Finally, the album comes to its blissful conclusion with “Shelter,” which is rich with layers of strings, piano and warm vibes. “You are my shelter… Love, you are my shelter.” The DuPree family has grown substantially since forming Eisley roughly ten years ago with marriages and children and this song is a fitting tribute to each other, embracing their family life.
Currents is certainly an album to be experienced, to only be listened to from front to back, so you can experience the built up of tension as well as the release of it. Sometimes both of these things happen within the confines of a single song, but to really feel each ebb and flow of the album you must listen to it as a complete body of work. After all, by now it should be obvious: this one is an artistic statement. (An artistic statement made by a band who love playing together who made a record their own way without the influence of any record companies.) And Eisley is not a band that sits around trying to come up with singles. Many of their songs are infectious enough to be singles, true, but it’s clear that they’re always looking at the big picture, especially with the themes that run throughout their records. Just put this one on and let its magnificent sounds wash over you. In the end, you’ll feel both enriched and cleansed.