Written in the wake of several failed relationships -- a broken engagement for the eldest Eisley sibling, a divorce for the middle sister, and a split with Warner Bros. Records -- Eisley's third album features some unexpected dark moments. Much of the aggression comes from Sherri DuPree, whose marriage to New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert came to an abrupt halt after ten months. On Eisley's 2005 debut, she sang ballads about star-crossed lovers and enchanted forests, but Sherri ditches the storybook romance during The Valley, whose sobering song titles -- "Sad," "I Wish," "Ambulance" -- paint the picture of a girl's broken heart. The Valley isn't necessarily a gloomy album, though; most of the anger is funneled into Chauntelle DuPree's guitar riffs, whose rawness is balanced by the girls' sweet, dreamy harmonies. Co-vocalist Stacy helps even the tables, too, taking the mike during some of the album's brightest moments and offsetting her sister's pinched, emo-influenced voice with a womanly alto. Barely a teenage at the beginning of Eisley's career, she's steadily become the group's creative centerpiece, and it's appropriate that The Valley both begins and ends with her songs. But the best part about The Valley is the emotional spectrum it covers, from the Veruca Salt-ish sneer of "Sad" to the lush title track, where harmonies and strings swell in parallel motion. There's a happy ending, too: Sherri remarried two years after her divorce, followed in 2010 by Stacy, Chauntelle, and drummer/brother Weston.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey