Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DuPrees young and older deliver songs for the ages in Eisley show

As if we needed any more evidence that the DuPree family has talent to spare, the Texas indie-pop outfit Eisley — composed of siblings Sherri, Stacy, Chauntelle and Weston, and cousin Garron — Monday night at the Brighton Music Hall ushered youngest sister Christie and brother Collin on stage. The two opened the night with a set of her wistfully strummed crestfallen folk pop. Christie DuPree, in both appearance and fluttering elegiac voice, called to mind a “before’’ version of Sherri in Eisley’s early years — bright-eyed and hopelessly romantic, unburdened by cynicism.

Headliner Eisley is touring behind its recently released, and stunningly disconsolate, third full-length, “The Valley,’’ which finds the elder sisters enacting musical episodes of something out of Fitzgerald — all beautiful and damned and throwing themselves into fountains, as on the bewitching “Mr. Moon,’’ a defiant blow-by-blow of a failed romance sung in aching harmonies. Or is Eisley more Dickensian? The pining songs here have a certain cobwebbed-wedding-cake-in-the-attic aesthetic — Ms. Havisham was, after all, an original emo girl.

On “Watch It Die’’ lead guitarist Chauntelle took the rare lead turn, with the three vocalists wending between the cracks of the song, layering counter-melodies on top of three-part harmony. On “Sad’’ and “Better Love’’ they worked up a muscular guitar power that somehow maintained a sundressy feel. Later on, Stacy left her perch behind the keyboard and took up the acoustic guitar for the gorgeous “Kind’’ while the rhythm section took a break. By the time the band performed the romantic eulogy “Ambulance’’ and the ghostly “Marvelous Things’’ an observer might have found himself at a loss for words.
New York duo the Narrative chipped in with its own version of the Eisley family model: acoustics, keyboards, and teary harmonizing. Its set had only a few memorable tunes, but the stage banter was so goofy and awkward it came all the way back around to endearing.

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