Forty years in the business -- gold, platinum, all the heavy metal on the wall for Ronald and Ernie Isley -- and still they persist. It's hard to pick up "Eternal" without thinking about the past: "Shout" from 1959 A.D., "Twist and Shout," which got the Isleys covered by the freakin' Beatles. They hit big in 1973 with "That Lady (Part 1)," which many of the unenlightened now recognize as a hair-products jingle. They were hard-core, gut-bucket funky for most of the '70s with raw jams like "Fight the Power (Part 1)" and "The Pride (Part 1 & 2)."
Like a lot of big-time R&B acts, the Isleys cleverly outlived disco in the late '70s by letting it flow peacefully through their work, and they're doing the same with contemporary R&B on the first Isley Brothers release of the new millennium, but they're keepin' it real -- real Isley.
Ernie's patented filter-heavy big-guitar skirls dip into the Isleys' past on tracks like "Move Your Body." Meanwhile, Ronald's so, so smooth tenor on cuts like "Secret Lover," "You're All I Need," Chicago's (ulp) "If You Leave Me Now" and R. Kelly's mini-operetta "Contagious" kind of makes you wonder why exactly they stopped calling it "soul music."