Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., May 30, 2003
EisleyLaughing City (Record Collection) Although they only recently signed to Warner Bros., Eisley is already the biggest pop act to emerge from Tyler, Texas, since the Sixties salad days of Robin Hood Brians studios. The story of this tight-knit family band's journey from playing their parents' coffee shop to opening arenas for Coldplay is the stuff of TV biopics, but the hazards of having the music preceded by such a saga are obvious. The question of whether Eisley can ultimately live up to the breathless buzz is left unanswered (intentionally, it would seem) by this five-song EP. That said, Laughing City offers a glimpse at what makes Eisley special. The slightly slurred, drawn-out vocal phrasings of guitarist Sherri DuPree and keyboardist Stacy DuPree are as distinctively wistful as they come. The Cranberries and Portishead are valid points of comparison, but that doesn't do justice to the sisters' ability to soulfully tap a wellspring of raw human languor in a manner that transcends age. "Telescope Eyes" gives middle school rejection an articulate heft that often goes missing from reflexive punk spitballs tackling the same subject, while "Tree Tops" links a child's flight fantasy to a more mature longing for escape. Emotive without being maudlin, Eisley connects in both sorrow and joy.