Flyleaf – New Horizons

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Review by Jack Arkell

Octone Records

Rarely has an album title been more apt. After breaking onto the scene with their barnstorming eponymous debut album in 2005, it seemed that Flyleaf had the potential to be unstoppable. Seven years and the gradual build-up of a cult following later, and founding frontwoman Lacey Sturm decided to leave the alternative metal band just weeks before the release of their third studio album to pursue other interests. But on ‘New Horizons’, for 36 final minutes, Lacey Sturm is a part of Flyleaf. And that places a strange atmosphere on this body of work as a whole. It’s a unique scenario, but none of these tracks will ever see the light of the live environment in their original form, with Sturm’s vocals being replaced by Kristen May’s.

‘Fire Fire’ kicks off proceedings with a hooky chorus, punctuated by the line ‘Fire from the tongues of liars’. The title track is similarly light and memorable, if a little saccharine-sweet for some fans of the band’s early material. ‘Call You Out’ is the first track on the collection to really crank things up a notch, the duelling guitars of Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann driving the track forward and offering an alternative focal point.

‘Cage on the Ground’ and ‘Great Love’ follow, returning back to a more anthemic and polished sound. Taken individually, these songs are well-crafted and listenable, but there is a danger of so many mid-paced numbers becoming interchangeable. Thankfully, ‘Freedom’ stops the rut before the listener’s attention can wander too far, but it is hard to shake the feeling that the Texans headed into the studio with a distinct lack of hunger. Indeed, their reliance on factory-clean output makes it difficult to have more than a passing interest in this record. ‘Green Heart’ provides a highlight of the album’s closing salvo, but by then a feeling of dissatisfaction may have already gripped you.

New Horizons may not be the most fitting climax to Sturm’s time with the band. Flyleaf once sounded fresh and full of promise. This record is possibly a sign that it was the correct time for the vocalist to venture elsewhere.

Flyleaf – New Horizons5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Fire Fire
  2. New Horizons
  3. Call You Out
  4. Cage on the Ground
  5. Great Love
  6. Bury Your Heart
  7. Freedom
  8. Saving Grace
  9. Stand
  10. Green Heart
  11. Broken Wings