There seems to be quite a bit more buzz surrounding Eisley than I had initially realized there was for this folk-influenced pop rock outfit from Tyler, Texas.
With their latest Currents being my first listening experience, I was surprised at the apparent microcosm I was being thrust into, even upon my first listen. Eisley seem to have a knack (even without knowledge of the rest of their body of work) for creating a dense atmosphere, remaining present throughout the whole of the record. Perhaps “orchestral” does not accurately describe Currents’ sound, being created principally by typical rock instruments, but the movements and feelings throughout vaguely resemble something along those lines. Sherri DuPree’s vocal work adds an important ingredient as well. Her voice almost inexplicably contributes to the record’s sonic presence, yet remains distinguished and melodic, soaring above the rattle and hum of the instrumentation. Even further, the presence of atmosphere does an excellent job in tying this album together. There never seems to be a lull in energy and emotion, something I now consider to be one of the defining aspects of Currents.
In the midst of all the atmosphere and continuity, Eisley truly has an ear for the hook. Their loosely folk-based sentiment married with indie pop (as broad of a tag as that may be) serves as an excellent representation of a trending sound. It is hard not to hear traces of Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, or a host of other groups that share a similar sound. Bands of this caliber seem to have successfully calculated a balance between quality musicianship and accessible, radio-friendly music.
That being said, it seems that while the group paid close attention to the detail and composition of the record, it seems to have fall short in the diversity department. While the album remains loosely thematic and has a distinguished flow and consistency of motion, Eisley does not stray far outside their realm of comfort. This can be interpreted in two general ways: the first being that Eisley have found their sound and are sticking to it, which is commendable in and of itself. Consistency is important, and a band with too varied a range can often seem amateurish or indecisive. On the other hand, though, it does not seem far-fetched to say that Eisley can be easily categorized as a band. While they stand established, the comparison to other groups (as mentioned above) is a simple one. This is in no way meant to be a negative commentary on their music, but instead a praise. They are successful in the actualization of their sound, but at the same time, not much of what they’re doing is groundbreaking or entirely original.
Currents, as a whole, is a well-crafted pop record. Their influences shine through clearly, with a decidedly “Eisley” spin present throughout. It stands as a cohesive, strong-standing representation of Eisley as a band and of those that fit into the genre. While not entirely groundbreaking or fresh, it was catchy and emotionally charged throughout.