While many loud rockers reopen old wounds by singing about their broken homes and broken hearts, Flyleaf confront past traumas to heal old scars and prove in the process that hope shines brighter than despair.
Based in Belton, Texas, Flyleaf formed in 2000 when frontwoman Lacey Mosley tried out a string of hard-edged songs she wrote as a brooding teen on drummer James Culpepper. After a brief period of playing together, they recruited guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann, members of a local outfit that had recently called it quits. In 2002, bassist Pat Seals joined, and the band, initially known as Passerby, was born.
As Passerby, the band released three EPs and played over 100 shows in Texas alone over the span of two years under the booking and promotion company Runt Entertainment. In January 2004, the band signed with Octone Records. In 2005 the band recorded their first full-length album with Howard Benson under the title Flyleaf. Appearances on the album include Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction and Ryan White of Resident Hero. The first mainstream single from their debut album was "I'm So Sick", "Fully Alive" was the second, "All Around Me" was the third, and "There For You" was the fourth.
Flyleaf's self-titled debut album echoes with songs about abuse, neglect, addiction and dysfunction, and messages about overcoming adversity. And the band's wide array of brooding beats, atmospheric textures and lunging riffs compliment Mosley's emotionally revealing lyrics, which range from breathy and beautiful to scathing and aggressive.
Flyleaf's infectiously heavy positivism is all the more surprising considering Mosley's struggles while growing up. "My mom was a young single mother of six," she explains. "We didn't have money and things were hard for all of us. We moved whenever we couldn't make ends meet in one place, and that happened pretty often so there was a lot of struggling, suffering and character building.
"It's easy to get depressed when you're dealing with that kind of stress," she continues, "especially when it looks like things will never get better. There was nothing constant in my life, and nothing to believe in. I got into some really bad stuff that I thought would make me feel more loved, or maybe just numb, but it cost me everything that was important to me, and literally almost took my life."
When you take a dive, sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can swim your way back to the top. For Mosley, writing songs about survival helped her reach the surface and breathe again. "I had to lose everything to look up and see that there is a truly constant hope of a happy ending and that's what we make music for." she says. "If my music helps one person, than it's worth having been through what I've experienced."
"We think about where we started and where we are and realize, 'wow, we are playing in front of 1000 people tonight’ states Mosley. "And then we just can't be thankful enough to those bands who gave us a chance to play with them, even though we are sort of nobodies."
"A flyleaf is the blank page at the front of a book," explains Mosley. "It's the dedication page, the place you write a message to someone you're giving a book to. And, that's kind of what our songs are -- personal messages that provide a few moments of clarity before the story begins."
Flyleaf is one of those bands that falls into the weird quasi-Christian genre. Their lyrics are spiritual, mention God explicitly, and yet they can still get a fair amount of radio time on “secular” stations. Despite their typical emo look Flyleaf has quite a few very uplifting songs. This is a great band, with a distinct sound and some really meaningful lyrics.