Texan clan of indie-rockers, Eisley, released its third studio-length album, The Valley, through Equal Vision Records. This album will be the band’s first in four years, following 2007’s acclaimed Combinations, and the first to be released under the Albany, NY-based record label, following the band’s departure from Reprise.

 

During this interim period between albums, each of the DuPree sisters (who front Eisley) has experienced their own personal tragedy, or “valley” — such as Sherri’s failing marriage and Chauntelle’s broken engagement — which provided the inspiration for this album. These experiences display themselves in the form of a mournful disdain toward former flames in songs like the angst-ridden “Watch It Die,” and the bitterness of sudden heartbreak in “Mr. Moon.”

On The Valley’s nominal opening track, Stacy DuPree airily croons over a delicate chorus of piano chords and violin strings, though her angelic voice seems out of place in songs such as “Smarter,” when grousing over life’s less-than-happy moments with phrases such as “This body can only cry for so long.” Apparently not — “this body” cries for nine more songs.

In “Ambulance,” the sisters sing of “a monument for the love we used to know,” again invoking their heartfelt dolor for the man that got away, while reading from their repertoire of depressing metaphors.

The entirety of the album’s dour is epitomized in the aptly titled “Sad,” in which the family listlessly licks its wounds with such doleful verses as “Sad / I feel so sad / For you so sad / You’ll be left alone and broken.” Lines such as these characterize nearly all of the songs on this album.

In its entirety, The Valley plays like a rote narration of a teenager’s diary; while this may have been cathartic for Eisley, it will do little for the fans who have to listen to it. Now, don’t be misled — the band is very talented. In fact, Eisley was lauded by critics for the breadth and depth it was able to put forth in Combinations. It is unfortunate when bands choose to pigeonhole themselves into the group of stereotypical angsty/hormonal girl bands seeking to commit emotional murder against the men who have done them wrong in life, though here. Here, Eisley does exactly that. In The Valley, Eisley is able to retain its own brand of Texas-bred indie-pop, only at the cost of the breadth for which it had been so praised just four years ago.

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