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Metal Edge - March '05

Flyleaf are hard to forget. Emerging from tiny Temple, Texas, they combine intermeshed emo-tinged twin guitars with steady rock rhythms and lithe basslines, all topped with Lacey Mosley's immediately astounding vocals, which hover somewhere between Bjork and the Cranberries' DeLores O'Riordon. Though unassuming in person, Flyleaf are a ludicrously frenetic live act, guitarists Jared Hartmann and Sameer Bhattacharya and bassist Pat Seals' flailing and leaping framing the focus onto the petite Mosley center-stage.

But Flyleaf - who're completed by drummer James Culpepper - are full of surprises. While they're certainly a hard rockin' act, and have recently toured with the likes of Saliva, Trust Company and Breaking Benjamin, they're devout Christians. And while they're avid road-dogs, they avoid the partying cliches that normally come with the territory.

Mosley, chatting from a tour stop in Columbia, MO, struggles to describe her band's sound. "I guess it's heavy rock, but I think the defining theme in our music is that we have stories in our songs, and the music goes with whatever the story is. Whether it's violent or angry or sad or whatever, then that's how it comes out. And a lot of times it is emotional, because that's the best time to write a song, I guess. The best formula for writing is being emotional."

And Flyleaf - who site influences from Rage Against The Machine and Incubus to Nirvana and the Deftones - get sick of being compared, quite unreasonably to one band in particular: "We get compared to Evanescence a lot," Mosley sighs, "But I think we're a lot different. We get compared, I think, because we're heavier rock, and then we have a girl singer - I think that's the only reason."

Flyleaf have already generated a devoted and brood fan base which transcends niches. "We have a lot of younger fans, but we have a lot of older fans, too, who're just as dedicated and come just as far to see our shows... I think it's all kinds of people, and it's not just girls either, 'cause a lot of times guys come up to me and they'll say, 'You know, I hate girl singers in bands, but you guys were cool.'"

Another remarkable feature of Flyleaf's single-minded approach is their total sobriety in the midst of debauched rock tours. But, for Mosley, it's as much a practical as an ethical decision. "I'm baffled to see people that party be able to be on the road and keep everything organized and get to places on time and be ready for stuff, because we can barely do it without parting!" she marvels. "So it's not really a temptation for me, personally, because I'm just so busy all the time, I'm too busy to have time for it."

Though they're not selling themselves as a Christian band, Flyleaf's faith runs rich through their music. "What I do when I write is write about whatever I'm passionate about at the moment. And I think that my faith is what saved me from depression, suicide, drug addiction and alcohol... So, literally, my faith is the reason I'm alive, I would've been dead if it wasn't for that, so it comes out that way a lot."

"A lot of our songs are about our faith and it's not because we want to preach to anybody, but because that's what we're passionate about. So, if somebody gets some kinda hope from that, then that's great, that's the best thing. But we're not trying to change anybody or beat anybody over the head with our religion, we're just trying to sing what we really mean, to play songs that we really mean."

Flyleaf, who formed as Passerby in 2002, soon came to the attention of Octone records and were snapped-up by the label in early '04. They've been touring almost ever since, yet Mosley's confident that they can maintain their Christian ethics in the midst of a notoriously unethical industry. "I think that, as far as trying to do the right thing, I think that it has brought us to where we are, because we know a lot of bands, friends of ours, that kind of fall into all that stuff which I think is just not good for their physical bodies or their business."

"We've just been blessed because we're maintaining our mentality right from the beginning. Our goal isn't to be huge, that's not our goal. Our goal is to be who we are and do what we love, and getting to go on tour and getting signed and all that is just a by-product of being who are and doing what we love. And that's just a blessing, so if we changed it, I think it would all fall apart. For me, if it ever went in the wrong direction, I couldn't do it and still feel comfortable with myself."

In 2005 Flyleaf are set to record their debut album - up to now they only have a four song EP available - to be followed by more touring. Their vibrant and inspired music alone would be enough to make them a 'band to watch,' but their bravely individual career approach and admirable life code only makes Flyleaf an even more intriguing prospect. - Paul Rogers

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