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It’s been eleven years since Flyleaf’s eponymous debut was released as part of a new wave of Christian rock. It was a time that redefined what Christian rock could be, and it spread like wildfire. That album created thousands of fans that would eagerly await each new release from the band. As big of a hit as Flyleaf was, the band slowly faded into ambiguity. After Lacey Sturm stepped down as their vocalist, all was quiet on her part. Now, she has returned as a solo artist, and it was well worth the wait.
Having never been much a Flyleaf fan, I wasn’t too sure that I’d get much out of this album. I was pleasantly surprised though, as Sturm’s iconic passion returns stronger than ever in her debut: Life Screams. The album is full of energy, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Combining grungy distortion with some incredibly groovy bass lines, Sturm and company manage to weave an album that you can blast in your car with the windows down. It’s very reminiscent of her former band, but so much better. It lacks the mundane repetition that Flyleaf seemed to have, where every song seemed like a version of the last. It grabs your interest in the intro, and keeps it until the end.
Where this album shines brightest however, is in its lyrics. Covering a wide range of topics, each song is a well-written anthem for different people going through different things. Listening to the spoken word-style intermission shows you exactly how Sturm is approaching these songs. It’s a perfectly timed explanation of her intensity during the songs she’s singing. Each word is sung with a bite, and no emotion is safe from the honesty of the songs. Even if you are unable to relate to a song, you’ll find yourself inspired by Sturm’s passion on every track.
With well-written lyrics layered on top of high-energy music, Sturm reenters the music industry in style. The only thing I would change is to have a bit more variety in the songs. While not repetitive by any means, they do seem to follow a similar recipe. The bass lines scattered throughout the album tend to distract me from that, though, and that’s okay with me. From beginning to end, including a surprising cover of The Police’s “Roxanne,” Life Screams leaves you wanting to start it over again. A solid four-star release, it shows that she’s matured since her departure from Flyleaf, and is ready to continue making music that inspires in a number of ways.
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