Eisley are that close-knit Christian family band from Tyler, Texas. Their album Room Noises is lush and whimsical dream-pop, but they’re young and ambitious, too: they’ve toured with Coldplay and Brand New, so no way was Sherri DuPree’s head cold going to but a crimp in their style at the Paradise last night. Sherri, on guitar, and her sister Stacy, on keys, are Eisley’s backbone — their dueling sopranos are so pure and organic, it’s hard to hear them without imagining them in a cathedral with vaulted ceilings, or frolicking in a big sunny green field, surrounded by warbling nightingales — something chaste and flowery. When Sherri and Stacy sing, “I followed a rabbit through rows of mermaid entwined shrubbery,” as they do on “Marvelous Things,” it just seems, well, right.
Their brother/drummer Weston DuPree and their bassist/neighbor/non-family-member Jon Wilson have about as much stage presence as a couple of house plants. But their orchestration, edgy yet polished, is what saves Eisley from coming across as too earnest. Chauntelle, the oldest sister and lead guitarist, plays the charmingly bashful mentor; last night she mostly stayed quiet, rocking back and forth in her corner of the stage, looking up only to push her hair out of her face. It was up to Sherri and Stacy to kick the music up a notch and introduce some of the band’s newest songs. One of these, “Invasion” — inspired by Invasion of the Body Snatchers, natch — had a plaintive, other-worldly feel. But mostly what the crowd wanted were the familiar ones, as gorgeously as possible, and that’s mostly what they got. Highlights: “Telescope Eyes, the fairy-tale-esque “Memories,” and Stacy’s solo on the sparkly “Just Like We Do.”
The last thing most bands want is to come off as innocent. Rock and roll demands sullied love lives, a torn pair of jeans, an angry guitar. Then there’s Eisley, with their delicate piano chords and lyrics about a make-believe dragon. They make no excuses for simply sounding pretty. And you imagine that after playing a show as clean as their freshly-scrubbed faces, Sherri is off to down some Nyquil (the recommended dosage, not one drop more), then going to bed early instead of partying until daylight. But she, and the rest of Eisley, are definitely going places.
-- Sharon Steel
PREVIOUSLY: The young ones: Eisley’s wholesome, home-schooled pop. By Mikael Wood.WATCH: Eisley, "Just Like We Do (Live)" (Windows Media video)