Loud & Proud Records
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Reviewed by: Micah Garnett
- Set Me On Fire
- Head Underwater
- Sober Serenade
- Well of Lies
- Blue Roses
- City Kids
When Kristen May was announced as the new singer of Flyleaf after the departure of Lacey Sturm, she found herself in a tough place. Fans thought that she wouldn’t be able to fill the massive hole left behind by former singer Lacey. Some thought her voice was too poppy. Others claimed she wouldn’t be able to deliver the emotion that Lacey so easily could. After the release of an EP and a successful Pledge Music campaign, Flyleaf is back with their new album Between The Stars.
Flyleaf did a tremendous job with their Pledge Music campaign, offering backers previews of several live songs from the album. “Set Me on Fire”,
Several live songs from Between The Stars were released during the Pledge Music campaign. “Set Me On Fire”, “Thread,” “Marionette”, “Well of Lies”, and “City Kids” are all here in their fully mastered glory. For a while Flyleaf was known for their rock songs, but it’s really their more contemplative songs that stand out, and Between The Stars is no exception. Gone are the hard rock songs, replaced by catchy pop tunes. The only song that really borders rock is “Traitor”, but even then, it has a pop edge. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Traitor shows off the hidden grit and power in Kristen May’s voice, but she’s still able to break out her smooth side on songs like “Platonic”.
The songwriting is still as good as ever. Even with the departure of Lacey, the quality of music hasn’t lessened, only changed. Kristen and the rest of the band have written twelve beautiful, thought-provoking tracks filled to the brim with vivid imagery. “City Kids” feels like a natural extension of “So I Thought” off Flyleaf’s debut album. “Head Underwater” and “Sober Serenade” both carry strong messages of God’s love for us despite our anxieties and failures. “Magnetic” talks about that same love being magnetic, always pulling us closer to Him.
I’ll drown in the water if I listen to the sound of cruel laughter. I let the stones fall to the ground. They don’t know a thing about me and still the wolves are crying out. And I hear you say I’ll take you away. So will you stand for something and give them back the ammunition? Or will you let them tell you who you are? My love is deeper than the stars, and you are bigger than the scars that you feel at night when you’re holding your pillow tight and you’re wishing someone would call you home. It’s you and I alone.
Unfortunately, the live songs Flyleaf had previously released lack some of their magic and power when transferred to the album. “Thread” has changed the most, going from what sounded like one of the heavier songs on the album to a lethargic slog. Make no mistake, it’s still a good song, but nowhere near as good as it could have been. “Marionette”, while one of the best songs on Between The Stars, nearly suffers the same fate. “Well of Lies” and “City Kids” sound mostly the same as their live counterparts. “Well of Lies” is up there with other Flyleaf classics before it, showcasing Kristen’s vocals and featuring a perfect blend of music and lyrics.
Kristen May has done a great job filling in for Lacey. It’s hard to compare the two singers, because they’ve both left a unique mark on a great band. Kristen has done enough to separate herself from Lacey, while still keeping the integrity of Flyleaf. On songs like “Sober Serenade” and “Well of Lies” one might not even be able to notice a change in singers. Any worries about Kristen should be dispelled and silenced with Between The Stars.
Between The Stars isn’t Flyleaf’s best effort (2012’s New Horizons holds the honor of being my favorite album of all time), but it’s a solid effort that should introduce them to plenty of new fans. Kristen shows off why she was the perfect choice to follow Lacey, and the band is able to retain enough of the signature Flyleaf sound that the transition isn’t too startling. “Well of Lies”, “Marionette”, “Magnetic” and “Sober Serenade” are the highlights, but there’s not a bad song here. If you’re looking for the next big album of 2014, this is it. Between The Stars is an excellent addition to Flyleaf’s catalogue.
Songs to listen to: Well of Lies, Marionette, Magnetic, Head Underwater, Sober Serenade
RIYL: Paramore, The Letter Black, Fireflight, Halestorm