The Tyler, TX family band Eisley are at it again with their next release, Currents, a blissfully cheerful indie-pop record that offers a larger sound and more explorative ideas – as well as an interesting but greatly executed field of production. Comparatively to their last EP and The Valley, they’re still dosing out sugary pop songs with lots of layering, but the matured and darker feel complements the attitude doled out over the members’ recent history in their respective projects and how they’ve grown as musicians.
Title track “Currents” is a perfect example, as the sky high falsetto vocals paired with their interesting choice of instrumentation (which ironically, at times sounds as though bubbles are popping underwater) lead the record off with an eerie mid-tempo gem. It’s safe to presume that the Eisley of 2005 wouldn’t have been able to attempt music of this caliber without it feeling like a crushed and messy assemble of ideas. Confidence in their music is something that has always been dominant, but this time it really hooks in. The irresistibly catchy “Save My Soul” is almost too vocally driven for its own good, but luckily they pulled back just enough to let it breathe. The harmonized vocal in the bridge makes the song great though, and Max Bemis himself lends his much lower in register voice to complete the triple stacked harmony that fits right into place.
The DuPree band have always been a fan of intricate styles in their music, but the organic feel that I felt was missing from earlier works really fell into place here. Stacy King’s piano playing is very crucial to this point, as it really helps bring the songs together like it always has (“Blue Fish,” “Drink the Water” “Real World”), while the acoustic guitars and downplayed drums pair with mild mannered strings in “Wicked Child.” Eisley work best when they are in full swing, but even the secluded and reserved “Find Me Here” still packs an uptempo punch as modest as it is.
Production-wise the record takes a chance being almost under-produced, which is confusing but I’ll explain; at first glance you’ll only notice vocals for the most part, as the instrumentation sits in nice pockets behind and to the sides of them. But upon further inspection when listening to the mix with headphones, you’ll realize how well this record was done. There is no over-the-top anything and nothing is overpowering. The vocals are huge and gorgeous, the bass is neither too thick nor too fuzzy, and the drums are seductive whether they build and fall in crescendos or play off brushed elements. It all sounds nice; it’s a very pretty record.
The whole record is full of wonders and absolutely beautiful works, whether it’s the honest “The Night Comes,” the cowbell-infused “Lost Enemies” or the toe-tapping “Millstone.” There’s only one slight misstep I can find, and that’s in the bridge of “Wonder English.” While off to a fantastic start, the bridge is much too far removed melodically from the verses and choruses to flow the way it needs to. As progressive as this record is though, it can be forgiven. Closer “Shelter” boots off with a gorgeous harmony that rivets, and when the whole song is going you get a mix of everything – and that everything is Eisley, done right.