As a band who have always had family at it’s core, it was difficult to see whether or not Eisley would continue after both co-frontwoman Stacy King and guitarist Chauntelle D’Agostino would no longer be a part of the band. Shortly after announcing these line-up changes, Sherri Dupree-Bemis took to the band’s social media to announce that they were recording the follow-up to 2013’s Currents.
Eisley’s already whimsical sound has been stepped up several notches on this album; but with Dupree-Bemis now taking on all of the vocal and song-writing duties, their sound has taken on a new type of other-worldliness.While the harmonies with King and D’Agostino are missing here, Dupree-Bemis manages to create something equally as beautiful by herself, giving what is easily her best vocal performance. With her distinct style being front and centre on this album, it feels thematically a lot stronger than their other efforts, and might just be their best yet.
The band dips into some pop-punk influence on A Song for the Birds – an uplifting love song which features vocals from Max Bemis. In a song that seamlessly blends the band’s whimsical tendencies with more abrasive styles as well, it’s an example of the interesting new direction the band seems to be moving in. Similarly, When You Fall – a love song to Dupree-Bemis’ children this time – has a laidback, kind of Californian vibe that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on some teen show soundtrack.
They also experiment even more so with electronic sounds on this album – in particular on lead single Louder than a Lion. With jittery drums and synths holding this song up, Dupree-Bemis’ vocals, and the guest vocals from Circa Survive’s Anthony Green, sit as a nice juxtaposition to the otherwise quite busy music. As a band who haven’t made an awful lot of substantial changes to their sound over the years, this song isn’t the hugest departure, but still sits well among the rest of the album.
Dupree-Bemis is at her lyrical best on Defeatist, the first song on the album to be released. A song about pulling yourself out of heartbreak – it’s easy to relate to and beautifully emotive. The track mixes delicate melody set against defiant lyrics, with an optimistic refrain that could strike a chord with even the most pessimistic among us.
Whilst the lyrics are variation around the same themes, which are love – for both her husband and her two daughters – and heartbreak, but they don’t sound trite or cliched. Undoubtedly aided by producer Will Yip‘s atmospheric style, the tracks come across as both unapologetically dreamy yet real. Where there was worry that Eisley just wouldn’t be the same without the Dupree sisters at its core, I’m Only Dreaming still carries that same whimsical nature that Eisley do so well. With Dupree-Bemis now at the helm, they’ve created some of their strongest work yet.
Standout Tracks: Louder than a Lion, Defeatist
For Fans Of: Perma
Written by: Emily Laws