Review Summary: Certainly an improvement with room for more.
For a band that required somewhat of a refresh with the loss of vocalist Lacey Sturm and the subsequent gain of former Vedera vocalist Kristen May – Between the Stars is an album that, though far from flawless, is a big leap in the right direction for an act like Flyleaf.
Kicking into tracks like “Set Me on Fire” and “Magnetic” give the album that edge that the Flyleaf we once knew hadn’t just changed thanks to their new vocalist but their reinvigoration for the fourth full-length in their career. Kristen May does a fantastic job on the record and may not be as distinctive as Lacey, but gives a very dynamic performance that strengthens the songs as a whole.
With the exceptions of “Traitor” and “Magnetic”, there’s a particularly new vibe to Flyleaf which may concern old fans. Tracks like “City Kids” give more of a Taylor Swift VS. old Flyleaf atmosphere (especially being the only track on the record with distinguishable screamo backing vocals). City Kids actually sounds like a slight rewrite of classic Flyleaf track “All Around Me”
One of the most noticeable things about Between the Stars is the guitar and key work, which is far-more inspired and supplements the ‘poppyness’ of the band. Songs like “Platonic” and “Well of Lies” rely on the keyboards, distorted bass guitars and rhythm work that Flyleaf has often lacked since their first EP.
Lyrically the album is all over the place. Some of the cliché and predictable verses can be surprising when compared to the better and more intricate of some others. Another criticism would be that the track listing feels as though it doesn’t flow as much as it could and should. The poppy songs are grouped somewhat awkwardly.
Between the Stars is a definite improvement over New Horizons but it may just fail to bring old fans back despite encouraging new ones to come forward. The album is not as Jesus-freaked as the former records and is way bubblier than one would expect – whether or not this is a bad thing is really down to your own opinions.
Tracks to check out: