Following new vocalist Kirsten May‘s debut appearance whilst a part of Flyleaf for their ‘Who We Are’ EP, ‘Between The Stars’ is the band’s first full-length with the new singer at the helm. Having been working on the album for over a year, the band, according to May, have “poured their heart and soul into it”, and it’s understandable as to why. Though she was tiny in stature, former frontwoman Lacey Strum left some pretty hefty boots to fill.
Sadly though, ‘Between The Stars’ is average at best. With the exception of album opener, ‘Set Me On Fire’, most of the songs lack their unique Flyleaf punch and fail to stir any emotion deeper than slight woe. The problem lies in the choruses; despite ticking all the right boxes they all fall flat and just don’t deliver the impact they should. Take the chorus of ‘Platonic’, it just repeats the same simple melody rendering it essentially a bridge and leads only to the next underwhelming verse and, for some mad reason, what appears to be an electric kazoo solo.
The lyrical content of post-Strum Flyleaf is vastly different, too. Strum‘s lyrics often revolved around faith but also touched on some bleak and harrowing issues, whereas with May, the content is no way near as dark. This is understandable as they’re both very different people. However, May‘s lyrics almost rival the inanity of Taylor Swift‘s, going on about pretty girls from the city and falling in love, amongst other similar things. They aren’t all bad though, and May proves her worth as a songwriter with the likes of ‘Thread’ and ‘Well Of Lies’.
It seems that Flyleaf are trying to please everyone with this album by both trying something new and returning to their roots. ‘Set Me On Fire’, ‘Thread’ and ‘Head Underwater’ fly the classic Flyleaf sound, allowing fans to hear May in a familiar setting, somewhat easing the transition between singers. Then there’s ‘Well Of Lies’, a fresh song with a new feel, one that lays out a potential path for Flyleaf to follow.
However, the tracks that combine old and new are just unlistenable. Take ‘City Kids’ for example; it’s a flaccid, nothing song with lacklustre lyrics about young love and, for no reason whatsoever, contains emo-esque screams following a chorus so boring that it could induce a coma.
All in all, Flyleaf have landed on their feet but have failed to score a perfect 10. As a collective of musicians, they’re all incredibly talented and May really holds her own as a vocalist. Sadly though, at this point in time, they’re lacking the vital oomph that makes them Flyleaf. ‘Between The Stars’ has potential for great things, it has all the key elements there, they just need to tap into their inner Walter White’s to purify the mixture and make something incredible.
Written by Andy Roberts (@Sassensquatch)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.