It's safe to say Flyleaf has gotten off to a flying start with new singer Kristen May.
"Between The Stars," the group's fourth album and first since May replaced Lacey Sturm in 2012, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Current/Alternative Albums chart in September and in the Top 5 of the Hard Music Albums, Current Contemporary Christian Albums and Top Christian/Gospel Albums surveys. The strong out-of-the-box showing was certainly gratifying for the band, and Flyleaf guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya adds that it also vindicates the group after such a dramatic change in the lineup.
"(The fans) were right to be worried," acknowledges Bhattacharya, 29, who co-founded Flyleaf during 2002 in central Texas. "It's such a huge change. But after experiencing it I think the fans are really excited. I think initially, before anyone had heard Kristen or seen us live with her, everyone was a little skeptical about how it was going to turn out.
"But, man, it's just amazing. Kristen brings this great sense of melodies and these soaring vocals. Lacey had a really good sense of rhythm and her vocals were very percussive, where Kristen's are very melodic, which is really cool. It's definitely something we needed at this time."
Flyleaf also switched producers on "Between The Stars," from Howard Benson to Don Gilmore. Between that and May's involvement, it's a noticeably more straightforward sound, which Bhattacharya says was as surprising to the band as it was to fans.
"it caught me by surprise, I think," he notes. "This stuff was just coming out; we weren't trying to make it sound like this. It was just what was naturally happening as we were writing these songs. I don't know if it's just the growth in our songwriting or the fact we've been doing it for so long that we've cut a lot of fat out of what we do.
"We were trying to let each song stand on its own and speak for themselves. It was definitely an easy recording to write, and I think it's one of the coolest records we've ever made."
Flyleaf, Lullwater and Ryan White
Monday, Oct. 20. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac
Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show
Call 248-758-9770 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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