Familial Texas quintet Eisley—three sisters, a brother, and a cousin—were snatched by a major label after 2003’s Laughing City EP, but its Southwestern, hooky iteration of sophisticated emo-pop never caught on in the way it seemed destined to. But the past is just that, and The Valley—Eisley’s perversely triumphant debut for indie Equal Vision—represents a clean slate. It also serves as a sounding board for chief songwriters/frontwomen Sherri and Stacy DuPree, who swap tales of heartbreaking letdowns with rollicking anger and solemn reflection, respectively. Sherri typically pens more brooding rockers like “Smarter” and “Better Love,” with Stacy prone to rainy-day companions like the title track and the album high point, “Kind.” It’s a stretch to compare them to the women of Fleetwood Mac, though they could use some Lindsey Buckingham-style mad-pop science to anchor their extremes, since each occasionally neglects to charge cathartic lyrics with more audible ups and downs. But The Valley still offers several dense, affecting songs, and if a fresh start on a new label can deliver on an old promise, then—as the DuPrees harmonize on “Better Love”—hallelujah.
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