Flyleaf – [EP]

Wednesday, 08 December 2010

Listening to Flyleaf’s EP, Remember To Live, is a little like sleeping with someone who has an amazing body, but the experience sucks unless you are able to throw a bag over their head. Flyleaf is treading right around the outer edge of the genre that has come to be known as Christian rock. They also seem to be slightly politically driven when it comes to their lyrical content, but all of the songs on Remember To Live seem to be closely tied to their faith too. It is very difficult to judge their music as separate from the viewpoint they are trying to express through their music. This hopefully explains the initial analogy made; while I think Lacey Sturm has pipes many singers would envy and Sameer Bhattacharya is a talented musician, the message they are pushing may not only be distracting for many potential listeners, but repulsive as well.

This record is far softer than Flyleaf’s previous albums and steers away from the metal sound they are known for. It opens with the heartfelt track “Justice and Mercy,” a song that seems to be addressing the struggles of soldiers overseas and expressing love and support for their work. Some of what the song says is rather disturbing and might inadvertently glorify war in the wrong set of ears and, to add insult to injury, the song also demonstrates excessive national pride. Sturm is an impassioned powerhouse of a singer; I only wish she would channel that energy into something other than bullshit.

The song “Light In Your Eyes” caused me to have flashbacks of my time spent at youth services (masses designed to make worship seem cool and edgy) as a young teenager and, if you’re a person who was raised in church, you may have the same experience listening to it. Flyleaf has definitely succeeded in making worship seem cool on a much grander scale as lines like “There’s a light in your eyes/And it tells me God is on our side” suggest, but it becomes a challenge to judge the track purely for its' musical quality; it would be the same as judging the music of Rage Against the Machine or Anti-Flag and completely ignoring their lyrical content. Flyleaf’s musical style is intertwined with their message too – it is a musical representation of their hope and faith and of God’s love, which is only easy to swallow if you were prepared for it from the outset and are willing to follow along with the band.

Setting aside my hang-ups in regards to the message driving the music, there still isn’t anything especially impressive about the record. Flyleaf’s softer side is bland in comparison to their usual metal sound. Their hard rock records are really very good and even the biggest haters of Christian rock would begrudgingly acknowledge this. Lacey Sturm definitely dominates the band because she is a talent that tends to overshadow her band mates, despite their being talented musicians as well. Her voice is probably the instrument that normally succeeds in converting many young fans, and that will be the case on Remember To Live as well. The passion with which the band plays as a whole is undeniable and for that they deserve respect. To sum it up, the album is lukewarm, which is a kind conclusion that pains me to come to because it is coming out of the Christian rock genre but, if I ever found myself born again, it may just become something I would listen to regularly.



The Remember To Live EP is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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