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Eisley 'Taking Control' When It Counts

On its new album, Eisley shifts gears from sounding overcome to celebrating overcoming.
On its new album, Eisley shifts gears from sounding overcome to celebrating overcoming.

On its debut album Room Noises and early EPs like Laughing City, Eisley made music characterized by an off-center sway that was all about being overcome: by the moment, the emotion, the music. The new Combinations, on the other hand, is about overcoming, adding a bit more directness and heaviness to the mix.

In that sense, "Taking Control" serves as something of a state of the union of the band, so it's fittingly the only song on the album produced by Eisley itself (in tandem with singer/guitarist Sherri Dupree's husband, New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert). The verse is something of a circular holding pattern, light and bouncy at first but denser and more chugging when it swings around for a second pass.

Then Dupree sings the calling-out line "And you can't take it when we won't take it," and the song makes a melodic dive-bomb into the chorus, where Eisley shifts from dusting itself off into something more defiant, even accusatory. When the harmonies finally fracture into overlapping, independent vocal parts at the end, "Taking Control" reconnects Eisley with its past. But the band is no longer the same.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.