For those unfamiliar with new Texas-based alternative rock band Flyleaf, here's a quick refresher. In 2003 the band signed to mainstream label Octone Records and released a self-titled 4 song EP a year later in October of 2004. Their EP was produced by famed 3 Doors Down producer Rick Parasher and had Kevin Shirley (known for his work with the Black Crowes and Our Lady Peace) mix the entire EP as well. Fast forwarding to the fall of 2005 finds the band with the release of their debut self-titled full length LP that includes a tour with Taproot and Staind to promote the new album.
Musically, the album is an extended version of last year's effort with critically acclaimed producer Howard Benson being the man behind the sound quality of the band's talents this time around. Given that the songs from their self-titled EP have already been provided with a prior critique, the focus of this review will be directed towards Flyleaf's newer and fresher material. However, their older songs "Cassie," Red Sam," "Breathe Today," and "I'm Sorry" have been re-recorded and given a musical makeover that differentiates from the songs' original raw and brutal intensity. Overall, the LP evokes raw emotion and contains songs that address the issues of abuse, negelect, addiction, and dysfunction. Songs like the radio single "I'm So Sick" has haunting and creepy lyrics that portray an individual who has a viral disease of self and wants to break free from earthly passions. "Sorrow" begins as a mid-tempo rock piece that contains glimpses of depression, but shows a yearning for spiritual guidance as Lacey Mosley utters the words "Sorrow lasts through this night and I'll take this piece of You, and hold for all eternity; for just one second I felt whole... as You flew right through me."
The song "All Around Me" speaks about desiring to have a stronger relationship with the Father, while the Evanescence feel of "Fully Alive" is about a young girl who yearns to escape the abuse of her family by finding comfort in the arms of a loving God. The beautiful ballad "There For You" is all about finding trust and strength in a true friend who will never let one down despite the selfishness of their past mistakes. Arguably the best song on the album lyrically is "Perfect," which is blatant in proclaiming "Perfect in weakness, I'm only perfect in just Your strength alone."
Unfortunately, some listeners may tire quickly of Mosley's voice as her chords and screams tend to sound the same vocally in many of the album's songs. Regardless, with amazingly blended guitar work from members Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Harmann, as well as smooth bass work from Pat Seals and heavy drum rhythms from James Culpepper, Flyleaf has crafted a debut effort that has proven to be a step higher from their accomplishments with their EP last year. This quintet has already toured with some of the biggest names in mainstream rock today and have been acknowledged as one of the most aggressive and powerful new alternative rock acts of 2005. Move over Courtney Love, a new rock princess is in town and she has brought her band with her.- Review date: 11/8/05, written by Paul Portell
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