The Belton, TX-based heavy rock quintet Flyleaf formed in 2000 when frontwoman Lacey Mosley tried out a string of the dark, hard-edged songs she consistently wrote as a brooding teen on drummer James Culpepper. After a brief period of playing together, they recruited guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann, members of a local outfit that had recently called it quits. In 2002, bassist Pat Seals joined, and the band was born.
The road to Flyleaf's 2005 self-titled debut on Octone Records was dotted with more green lights than red: the band played wherever it was invited around its home state at first, gradually building the kind of fan base that allowed it to open for acts such as Bowling for Soup, Fishbone, and Riddlin' Kids. By 2003, with word of Mosley's arsenic-laced lyrics and blow-torch-style delivery spreading through Texas and beyond, Flyleaf earned a spot at the annual South by Southwest music conference. A contract from Octone was rushed to the signing stages by 2004.
An EP, issued in early 2005 and also called Flyleaf, benefited from the un-obscure production team of Rick Parasher (Pearl Jam, Blind Melon) and Brad Cook (Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age). Key tracks such as the roiling "Cassie" and the emo-tinged "Breathe Today," both of which appear on the full-length, furthered Flyleaf's reputation, as did raging live shows alongside Saliva, Breaking Benjamin, 3 Doors Down, and Staind.
For the fall 2005 release, producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Papa Roach, the All-American Rejects) joined Flyleaf in Los Angeles. A batch of 20 songs was winnowed to 12, with Mosley's searing vocals and Bhattacharya's and Hartmann's storming guitars offsetting each other to effect a sound by turns morose, compassionate, hope-swollen, and bitter.
The moodiness befits Mosley's background: as one of six siblings in a single-parent household, the confessional songwriter spent her childhood moving from apartment to apartment whenever the bills went unpaid. She openly acknowledges an early addiction to drugs and alcohol that fueled bouts of depression. As of the release of Flyleaf's full-length, the band was committed to sobriety. -livedaily.com
I first heard flyleaf, or their original name, passerby, a little over 3 years ago, when i went to one of their concerts (yes, i live in texas). At the time, i thought they were good, and had a lot of potential, but didnt really think that they would make it that far. Of course, i was wrong. I kept track of them for a while, going to shows when i could, but lost track of them for about a year, then, out of the blue they start popping up on radio stations. Its good to see a once was local band make it big. Of course, their hit "im so sick" is what got me hooked again. And ive been a fan (again) since. But enough of that, here's a track by track review of Flyleafs debut cd.
Im so sick: I think this was the first single off the cd, but i could be wrong. the song starts off with a bass intro, which sounds pretty cool to me. then lacey starts to sing. Her voice isnt something you hear all the
time, its different, very soft and innocent sounding, but im not meaning that in a bad way. The song starts to get pretty good when lacey suddenly screams "I will break....", which at the same time the guitars come in. the guitar part is pretty much the same bass riff, which once again isnt a bad thing, cause it sounds good, but i do wish they would've changed it up a little or added in something a little extra. The chorus is catchy itself and flows well together. This is a good solid song to start off the album with. 9/10
Fully alive: A good simple intro to this one. The verses flow well together thanks to laceys voice, which i think she delivers a very good performance. Theyre perfectly matched with the palm muted riff. The chorus i personally love, but its kinda short. Then the guitarists i guess wanted to do a solo-ish type riff, which would have been fine, but it sounds nothing like the rest of the song, and its not all that creative, so when the chorus comes up again after it, its wierd. That is the only down of the song, other than that, which is standable, the song is really good. 8.5/10
Perfect: i really didnt like the intro on this one, its not all that creative and sounds generic. The verses arent all that bad, which are driven by a decent sounding bass line and an ok guitar line. Its really the chorus that brings the song down.The chorus is repetetive, and gets annoying very fast, which is a real downer. Overall, ill listen to this song every once in awhile, but do to its lack of creativeness which makes it a boring song, i usually skip it on the way down. Its weak compared to the previous songs.
Cassie: A wierd noise starts this one off before entering into the guitar intro. This is a song about the columbine students who when asked if they believed in god, they were shot. The verses are fast paced and led by the bass. As for the chorus, Lacey does a short and good job with the lyrics such as,
"Do you believe in God"
written on the bullet
say yes to pull the trigger
Do you believe in God"
written on the bullet
and cassie pulled the trigger"
I do like the part after the second chorus, im not sure what you would call it. It has a cool sound to it, while lacey sings "I will die" throughout it. Later she screams "I will say yes!", indicating her christianity.This song is kinda short, but its good. 8/10
Sorrow: The only reason i dont like the intro on this one is because it sounds so much like the other past tracks guitar riffs. Its a little simple and theyre capable of alot more. Then comes the relatively quiet
verses. The guitar isnt really all that noticable during it. The chorus is what brings this song up, with lacey doing a good job vocally and the guitar's supplying good, if simple guitar work. The bass is noticable at times, and at times it isnt. The drums, while not phenomenol, get the job done. It may sound like im saying that this isnt all that great of a song, but im not. Its a good song, but it has some minor issues to it. 7.5/10
Im sorry: This song starts off with lacey saying the track name "im sorry" The verses have a simple but cool sounding guitar part behind laceys voice. The chorus, while fast paced and heavy-ish is good, its nothing to get excited about. I dont know why but i couldnt find much to right about this song. Its good and listenable, but not the best. 8/10
All around me: A short palm muted guitar part with a nice little guitar line combine to make a good and short intro to this one. The verses are really good (at least i think they are). A nice sounding slow guitar part matches up perfectly with a very good vocal performance by lacey.
Part of verse one:
"My hands are searching for you
my arms are all stretched towards you
i feel you on my fingertips
my tongue dances behind my lips for you"
I like the lyrics, but some people may not. The chorus is not to fast not to slow, while heavy at the same time, if that makes any sense. This is probably my favorite song off the whole album, and its almost perfect. 9.5/10
Red Sam: A cool sounding intro, which is also different than the other tracks, and drums starts this one off. A slower verse follows which has a pretty good vocal job, but the guitars arent really all that noticable. The chorus is good, but again, there isnt much to right about. Good vocal and instrumental performances by all. 8.5/10
There for you: A clean guitar picked intro starts this one off. It sounds really nice next to laceys voice, which i might add, she does a really good job singing the verses. The chorus comes in loud and out of nowhere. The chorus is good, but suffers from some not so good lyrics such as:
" I want to be there for you,
someone you can come to......."
Its not that theyre terrible, but they lack something that all the other songs had. The rest of the lyrics are fine. I might add that the chorus is repeated a bit much, and does get a bit tiresome and repetetive, but it doesnt hurt the song all that much. They did a pretty good job on this song, but it could be alot better with some minor changes. 7.5/10
Breathe Today: A quiet, distorted guitar riff opens this song up, led by lacey singing the first verse. About half way through the guitars come in all the way. The verses are good and fast paced, and flow well together but the chorus brings it down. The drums start off terrible and over-power the guitar parts at first, but then they fix and its not all that bad. I first heard this song as a demo and it was near perfect, but the "new and improved" version just doesnt cut it compared to the earlier version. I do like the part when lacey sings " big enough to fill the void thats inside of you, its just a breath away". It matches perfectly with the guitar part. The bottom line is that if they hadnt changed this song so much, it would be such a good song, but with the drumming suffering badly at times and an overall sloppy feeling to it, it gets a 5.5/10
So i thought: A nice soft and quiet intro starts this one off, and same with the verses. Again, lacey does a good job singing, and same with the guitars. The chorus is loud, but not "heavy" loud, if that makes sense. It may take a few listens, but its a good song. Everything is near perfect on this one and its a good way to end the cd. 9.5/10
Lacey's singing is really good. She not some evanescense ripoff, or another avril wannabe. She has an amazing amount of talent.
The songs are catchy, but not too catchy. The songs are singable (at least i think so) and the riffs are catchy, with the exception of a few. I can easily pop this cd in and listen to it without getting tired of it.
The musicianship is pretty good, and they all do a good job delivering songs.
The drumming is sometimes, not all the time, pretty sloppy on parts of songs, and the bass is not noticable all the time, which isnt that big of a deal to me, but some do care about it.
The guitars and riffs, while good and simple, may turn off some people, mostly because some of them sound alike and some do lack creativity.
Some songs do tend to repeat things, such as chorus' abit too much and get repetetive, but its nothing thats going to make you wish you hadnt bought the cd.
Overall this was a pretty good debut album for Flyleaf. Sure it has its issues, but what cd doesnt" I really hope that this band makes it big, because theyre something new, and they dont sound like everybody else out there. 4/5