Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment
There’s an old adage out there that states “you can’t keep a good man down.” In the same vein, you also can’t keep a good woman down. Flaw is proof of that. The Louisville, Kentucky-based hard rock band has faced more breakups, makeups, lineup changes, and label changes than most bands that have been around as long as them. This is regardless of whether said bands are independent or major label acts. Now two decades after originally front man Chris Volz originally formed the band, he is trying his hand for what feels like the umpteenth time and will release the band’s fourth full-length studio recording Divided We Fall next month. The album features the lineup Volz (vocals), Jason Daunt (guitar), Ryan Juhrs (bass), and Corey Sturgill (drums). The album’s title is fitting considering Flaw’s history. Listening to this new album one can only hope that this album will finally mark a new beginning for the band. That is because the album serves as a reminder of what originally made Flaw such a well-kept secret so many years ago and that even with its rough history it still has plenty to offer audiences given the right support.
Flaw has seen over the course of its now two-decade life more ups and downs than most bands that have been around just as long both mainstream and independent alike. For all of those ups and downs that the band has faced, its latest effort Divided We Fall shows that this band still has plenty to offer audiences and that it is still as strong as it was in its infancy way back in 1996. One of the songs that best exhibits this is the album’s absolute powerhouse composition ‘Choices.’ It is a simple title. But both in terms of its musical arrangement and its lyrical content it is quite the heavy, hard-hitting composition. In regards to its musical arrangement it wastes little time launching from its brooding opening bars to a full on, merciless assault on the ears. When Volz’s screams are set against the work of his band mates, that arrangement even conjures thoughts of Dry Kill Logic. Volz wastes just as little time making his statement. He stars off with a quiet yet powerful whisper, stating “Sometimes we make the choices/Other times the choices make us/Say it loudly/Lift up your voices/I’ll take a bullet for the people I trust.” That final statement in the song’s introductory bars is a telling one to say the very least. It boasts the most fire of those bars and puts the exclamation mark on exactly what he was trying to say here. What he was trying to say, in this critic’s view, was that because of the way that life works out, he would likely take a bullet for very few people. That is because he likely doesn’t trust very many people, again especially considering Flaw’s past history. From there he goes on to ask, “Why don’t you hold my head up/So that I can breathe better/Just make me open my eyes so that I can see the light/All around us bad decisions will make or break you/We’re busting these chains/Gonna fight the good fight.” He comes across here as saying we’re going to succeed no matter what, apparently addressing those who wouldn’t help even in the most difficult times. That, again, is just this critic’s own take and should not be taken as the only interpretation. The picture painted by Volz’s lyrics gets even more interesting in the song’s second verse as he sings, “So I’m calling all the people who know just how to dig deep/I’m setting all the pins/And making sure it’s all set/There’s never been a time like now so get it together/There’s only one chance…” He is seemingly saying that he is making a choice for himself rather than letting life make choices for him. He is making the choice to deal with some issues that have been needing to be dealt with and there has not been a chance like the one at hand in which to do so. Even with this interpretation, this is a powerful statement. It is a statement that is made even more boldly and proudly through the use of the song’s musical arrangement. The two elements together make the song a statement that is certain to be one of listeners’ favorites from this new record. It is just one of the album’s most impacting statements, too.
‘Choices’ is a clear example of just how much Flaw has left to offer audiences on its latest album. The song’s musical intensity and its equally impacting lyrical content make it a powerful statement from the band. It is just one of the songs that shows on this record how much the band still has left to offer audiences. ‘Live and Breathe’ is another of the album’s examples of how much this band still has in its collective tank. This song, musically speaking, is even more intense than ‘Choices.’ The band is balanced from one part to the next. And the contrast of the songs rap/rock style verses to its more melodic chorus adds even more impact to the song. The intensity in Volz’s voice as he delivers the song’s verses adds one more layer to that impact, too. Speaking of the song’s lyrical content both in terms of the verses and choruses, it is just as important to the songs presentation as its musical makeup. Looking at the song’s lyrical content it comes across as a proudly defiant statement against any naysayers and those who would otherwise try to cut down Volz or the band. That can be assumed as Volz raps, “Bounce back cardiac/Whatever trouble arises I got your back/We’re taking no numbers/Just face to face/If you’ve come for no reason we’re taking your place/I Do differ from time to time/But you know I never left a good man behind/So I get by here day to day/This is something that you’ll never be taking away.” Going back to the contrast of the song’s verses to its chorus, that contrast is immediately evident in the first refrain of the chorus as Volz and company sing, “All these fears are gone now/So many troubles have washed away/We’ve made it through this somehow/To live and breath another day.” The confidence yet calm sense in Volz’s voice as he sings these lines serves to drive home his resolution. It is almost like two distinct statements with the verse serving to address a certain person/persons while the chorus is meant to come across as Volz thinking or speaking to himself. That clear contrast continues throughout the remainder of the song with the end result being a song that hits just as hard as any of the album’s other offerings if not harder. That impact reminds audiences why this song is just one more example of how much the album in whole shows that the band still has in its tank. It still is not the only remaining example of that, either. ‘My Letter,’ the album’s closer, is one more song exemplifying just how much Flaw still has in its tank.
‘Choices’ and ‘Live and Breathe’ are both key songs exemplifying just how much Flaw still has to offer audiences even twenty years or so after it first formed. They are not the only songs presented in this record that serve to show how much the band still has to offer. Volz’s re-worked take on ‘My Letter’—which was originally presented in the band’s 2001 debut Through The Eyes—is another example of how much the band still has left to offer audience. It is a good way for the band to close out its new album. That is because it is the polar opposite of every other one of the albums offerings. It is a very reserved, piano-driven piece that is deeply introspective. Volz sings here against the simple backdrop of a piano here, “This is my letter to you/We started following a certain description/We started simple and fair once again/Before there wasn’t any need for an answer/Things were much different then but/Now you question who I am/Who I am inside/Now there’s nothing left to hide/So here it goes/This is my letter/I hope you’re all right/It’s been rough for me/Been thinking all night/About all the places I’d be/If I maybe/Just did a little bit more/You might have let me become a man for sure/And if I might/Express one concern/It seems an issue all day at every turn/What’s the next step…what’s next for me to learn.” At first the “letter” seems to address a former love interest. But when Volz looks back and says, “If I maybe/Just did a little bit more/You might have let me become a man for sure,” one can’t help but think that maybe he is addressing an issue with either his father or a father figure. That supposition grows even more in the song’s second verse as Volz sings “Engulf myself into a permanent mystery/No one day just as the next/Not for me/It’s so confusing when I look at my history/I just can’t handle that yet.” From here he reprises the song’s chorus echoing again that same sentiment that was previously noted. Regardless of whom Volz was addressing in this song, the song’s lyrical message hits even harder with its simpler, re-worked arrangement. The simplicity of Volz singing those familiar lines against just a piano and nothing else gives the song so much depth. Yet again this shows that Volz and company still have plenty of ideas likely left to share with audiences. It is hardly the last song that exhibits this, too. Any of the album’s remaining songs could be cited just as easily in making this statement. All things considered Flaw has shown in this new forty-one minute record that it still has plenty left to offer provided its members remain united rather than divided.
Flaw has endured so much strike and turmoil over the course of its now twenty year life. From breakups to makeups, lineup changes and label changes, this band has been there and seemingly done it all. And now on its fourth full-length studio recording the band has shown that even despite everything that it has faced, it still has plenty left to offer audiences. That is evident in the proudly defiant ‘Live and Breathe,’ the equally powerful ‘Choices’ and the deeply moving re-worked take of ‘My Letter.’ All three songs show in their own way that this band still has plenty left to offer audiences provided it can remain united rather than divided. The same can be said of the rest of the songs that make up the body of the eleven-song record. All in all this record shows that if Flaw can remain united it could finally stand tall and gain the fame that it so rightly deserves. Divided We Fall will be released in stores and online on Friday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment. The band also has a tour scheduled in support alongside Dope in support of Divided We Fall. More information on the band’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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