Flyleaf’s previous lead singer, Lacey Sturm left because she had a baby and couldn’t take her family out on the road. That’s understandable but it also put Flyleaf in a really difficult spot because of the timing of her departure. Lacey left right at the start of Flyleaf promoting their new album New Horizons. So that left the group in a tight spot, they could reel things in and rerecord the album with a new lead singer, quit, or they could promote the record with a new lead singer -- even though the album was recorded with Lacey. They picked up a new lead singer in Kristen May and went with option three.
That third option has proven to be a tough way to go. It hasn’t been unsuccessful, but Flyleaf fans have had mixed feelings about New Horizons and certain things have proved to be difficult. One obvious obstacle has been releasing a single. That’s been remedied with the Who We Are EP from Flyleaf that features a new single and studio track, “Something Better” featuring Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. singing with Kristen May. The EP features that lone studio song and then four live recordings with the current lineup of the band. The new song is great, May’s voice is impressive, and Sandoval’s addition to the track is notable. But there’s something different with May fronting Flyleaf. It’s almost like they’re more of a Hot-AC band now. She’s a great vocalist, but she’s not as intense as Lacey. I get that one song isn’t a big enough sample size to fully critique what May can do, but the live songs on this EP sound different too. May sings every song perfectly, but there’s not a lot of personality to it -- at least it’s not the personality that we’re used to hearing with Flyleaf.
The only person that’s in a tougher spot than the holdover members of Flyleaf with this new EP is May. She gets to follow one of the best female voices that rock has had in a decade. To her credit, May fills in admirably but it doesn’t end up being the same as what we heard on New Horizons. We’ll reserve final judgment on the new Flyleaf when we get more than one song to truly judge. Kristen May can sing these songs and she can front this band. But in all fairness one new song isn’t enough for Flyleaf right now- they needed to add at least two more to this EP and have three new songs mixed in with two live recordings. As is, this falls short of a must-listen. Check out a live track and the single and call it good.