Eisley has been waiting a long time for this: It's been four years since the Tyler-based family band released its last full-length album, Combinations, and during that time they've been through the wringer, both personally and professionally. Personal relationship breakups and an ugly split from Warner Bros. Records left the band at rock bottom, which makes it fitting that their new album is titled The Valley. But in the songs, the performers pull themselves up a bit from the rubble: Guitarist/vocalist Sherri DuPree-Bemis shines on the self-empowering "Smarter" and "Better Love"; the biggest change that occurs on The Valley, though, is the blossoming of her younger sister Stacy DuPree-King, who contributed to this album some of the best songs she's ever written. The record is riddled with these gems from start to finish, from the title track to the powerful, heartbreaking "Ambulance." On "Watch It Die" and the whimsical "Kind," her voice is pure and engaging, and on "I Wish," the two sisters team up for a beautiful duet. Meanwhile, the production value pretty much picks up where Eisley left off on their previous efforts. It's slick and occasionally sterile, but the addition of strings mixed in with DuPree-King's soulful voice works to give the record a nice, comfortable feel. And the saying "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" is certainly proven here, on Eisley's strongest release yet.
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Hopkins, Daniel