CD fast factsArtist: EisleyAlbum: Room Noises Album Highlights : Golly Sandra, Marvelous Things, Lost at Sea
“Uh-oh-not a good sign,” was the first thought that ran through my head when I first saw the cover of Eisley’s first full-length album “Room Noises.” Any band worth the plastic to which their music is fused definitely would not allow a picture of themselves to go on the cover of their debut disc, especially not one in which any of the band members are on a randomly-placed couch. That’s so 1998.
Actually, maybe it’s so 1968. Or 2008.
Listening to “Room Noises” is like getting a quick history lesson in a few of the basics of guitar-based popular music, followed by a seminar about the genre’s future. The music displays a solid foundation of the Beatles, upon which is built a darkness that belies the band’s affinity for Radiohead. Decorating it all is a spacey dreaminess a la Pink Floyd.
As for the future, Eisley has nowhere to go but up. When the band played their first gig in 1998, vocalist and keyboard player Stacy Dupree was only 8 years old.
The rest of the band, made up of Stacy’s two guitar-playing sisters and their drummer brother, along with next-door neighbor Jonathan Wilson on bass, is also barely through their teens. But the occasional legal issue when trying to book concerts in clubs and bars has not seemed to keep the close-knit siblings and a best friend from polishing their pop craft.
Even calling “Room Noises” their debut album is somewhat misleading. Two EPs from 2003 preceded the release of the album on Feb. 8. Some of the songs on the full-length are re-worked versions of older songs that sometimes work well. While “Telescope Eyes” sounds more lifeless than the original, the darker dream diary entry that is “Marvelous Things” works perfectly in between two lighter songs.
The first of those songs, “Golly Sandra,” do-si-dos right out onto the barn floor with a catchy little pedal steel guitar riff that will either make country music avoiding listeners scratch their heads or bounce them. Except for the unnecessary stuttered vocal at the beginning, which I’m sure was supposed to sound “fun,” the song has both an immediate infectiousness and a long-term likeability that is probably due to the fact that there is nothing else on the album that sounds like it.
In fact, about the time the last notes of the beautiful piano-driven seventh track, “Lost at Sea,” sink into oblivion, one wonders if there could possibly be any other catchy hooks left with which Eisley can drag the unsuspecting listener into dark, syrupy sweet pop concoction.
There are, of course, and the band keeps dishing them out, finally ending the album with a somewhat odd song that includes a lyrics that could only be Eisley: “Out one day with you, hallelujah / We found a wood, we unfound a wood / And then we cried.”
To avoid scratching your head once again while listening to this album, it may be easier to digest “Room Noises” in pieces, swallowed frequently with a hefty portion angular indie rock-just for the sake of balanced diet.
If taken frequently enough in the right context, Eisley just may begin to grow on you. And maybe that album cover isn’t so bad after all.