Ex-Flyleaf lead vocalist Lacey Sturm has delivered her debut solo record after staying generally quiet from the music world for a few years. Along with big names such as her husband, guitarist Josh Sturm and John Hodges, formerly of Evanescence being boasted on the album’s credits, Life Screams is a huge rock record and shows how Sturm has carved her own niche in the music industry, and, more personally, how she has lived through life’s hardships.
What makes the album so powerful to the listener is the subject matter of each song. ‘Vanity’ and ‘Rot’ are perhaps the most intense moments on the album. ‘Vanity’ is a spoken word interlude, and argument between a woman and man in an abusive relationship, each speaking poetically of their view of love. A bit cliché, but the words hold a lot of weight. ‘Rot’ is the response to the former, and you can just feel the seething anger and rebellious release against the prospect of an abusive relationship. With Sturm relentlessly proclaiming, “The most disgusting lies are dressed in beauty that'll rot / Oh my God, you've won the coldest battle we've fought / Deliverance is mine, from more of this beauty that'll rot,” it’s pretty evident this song isn’t to be taken lightly. Her voice has such a powerful demeanor to it, it’s hard to not feel anger and guilt listening to it.
‘You’re Not Alone’ is another powerful moment on the album, beginning with a hospital patient flatlining and then going into a motivational piece of art against suicide and depression. Backed by a gentle instrumental featuring an acoustic guitar in the verses and a distorted guitar chorus, Sturm delivers a positive message behind a darker instrumental: "Stronger than the pain runs through us You can hear the angels sing / That you’re not alone.” Putting love in a more positive light, ‘Faith’ shows how love can be someone’s lifeline. Sturm’s vocal prowess shines with the powerful delivery on ‘Feels Like Forever’, while her gentler side is showcased on the slower tracks on the album, ‘Life Screams’ and the closure, ‘Run To You’.
Every song feels like it was taken straight out of the best of mid-2000′s alternative rock, definitely harkening back to her Flyleaf material, if not a little repressed and lighter. Lead single and opener ‘Impossible’ has a slight electronic vibe to it, though has all the heavy instrumentation of the time era in which she shined. It was a big riff accompanied by rebellious overtones, which continue over the next few tracks, especially the outsider track ‘I’m Not Laughing’. ‘The Soldier’ opens with a bass riff and acoustic instrumentation and builds into huge choruses. The closing track ‘Run To You’ is a more drastic buildup, starting with acoustic guitar and a light drum beat before taking the album out on the biggest acoustic rock ballad it could offer. Included on the album is also a live cover of The Police’s ‘Roxanne’, which drops its reggae roots and has Sturm putting her own punk rock spin on it, with her chilling screams being the most drastic change.
Lacey Sturm’s debut is a powerful statement on many topics, all of which are covered powerfully and with so much emotion that it feels like you’ve changed after listening to it. Her sound is immediately identifiable and true to herself, but also works to highlight the meaning of each song, the big focal points of the album. She doesn’t sacrifice anything for the meanings, though. Each song is crafted with each element in mind and form beautiful written pieces of music. Even after a bit of a break, Lacey Sturm has proven herself that she is a force to be reckoned with in the music world, band or not.
Favorite Tracks: Rot, You’re Not Alone, Feels Like Forever, Faith, Impossible
Least Favorite Tracks: Roxanne (Live), I’m Not Laughing