Eisley - Combinations (Cover Artwork)


Combinations (2007)


Texas band Eisley have the rare musical distinction of having a soft and melodic sound that listeners with hardcore and punk leanings can fully appreciate. The group consists of the DuPree family, sisters Chauntelle (lead guitar, vocals), Sherri (guitarist, lead vocalist), Stacy (keyboardist), brother Weston (drummer) and cousin Garron (bassist). Their fantasy-based pop with soaring vocals and atmospheric guitars helped them establish a loyal fanbase in the mid-2000s. Their major label debut, 2005's dream-evoking Room Noises triumphed with creating a fairy tale-like backdrop while being intelligent with a sense of urgency. With Combinations the Dupree clan display their newfound maturity and aim for the feeling of a science fiction soundtrack.

Opener "Many Funerals" manages to showcase the band's new more aggressive sound, with confident and quirky lyricism and doom-like guitars strewn throughout. The record's lead single, "Invasion" is inspired by the 1956 film "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers." "Something's not right / I can feel it inside," the DuPree sisters cautiously sing. The feverish piano and dual vocals carry the song while lyrics like "They will try to make us forget ourselves / One by one" help reflect the creepy vibe of the `50s B-movie. "Taking Control" delves into folksy territory and grabs attention with a powerful chorus, the standout on Combinations by far. The piano-based "Come Clean" is simplistic and charming, down to the a cappella outro. "Ten Cent Blues" is a playful tune that deals with the jealously of having someone you adore fall for a less interesting rival. "She is cheesy, she is scrawny…I'm teasing / She is pleasing / She just has no wit," Sherri DuPree cleverly snarls.

The record does hit a few roadblocks at times with "Go Away" and the title track "Combinations." The nasty habit on relying heavily on the DuPree sisters' amazing voices is occasionally present, taking the focus off the instrumentation and making the songs come off as slightly droning. The final track, "If You're Wondering" continues the somber tone with elegant chimes and an air of weariness.

The darker approach of Combinations is a pleasant change from their previous efforts, as the subjects of dealing with interpersonal relationships make the music more relatable than the fantasy fodder of their last record. Eisley is a youthful band, the youngest being 17, which means the potential to grow musically is vast. While Combinations cannot be considered the band's defining record, it does show promise for their future.