Sound — 7
Hailing from Denver, "The Fray" are a four piece piano-rock band lead by Pianist & lead vocalist Issac Slade. After finding mainstream success with the singles "Over my head (cable car)" & "How to save a life", the quartet spent four years without releasing another record. In 2009 however, out came their sophomore album, which was unusually self-titled, which gathered similar success to it's predecessor & helped enforce the idea that they were fast becoming the leaders of their genre. "The Fray" consists of numerous mid-tempo songs, a trait that has become all too familiar within the quartet's song-writing, as well somber & regretful lyrics. Though the same formula is often used through-out, this album sees "The Fray" lift things up a notch, with guitar becoming far more prominent & Joe King having more to add with harmonies.
Lyrics — 9
Issac Slade & Joe King are said to be the main writers, and though they tend to stick around the same themes, they are very strong in their areas & provide more than an appropriate idea for the listener. Issac manages his range excellently, having a nice rasp & uniqueness to his voice, as well as an exceptional falsetto as shown in parts of the ballad "Never Say Never". Joe King adds an extra layer of glitter to the mix with his harmonies as shown in tracks such as "Syndicate", and is even given a full track to show his ability on "Holy Hour", where he too shows his ability to provide falsetto.
Overall Impression — 7
"The Fray" feels a lot like the second half of "How To Save A Life", if not for the extra presence of guitarist Dave Welsh & occasional interesting beat as provided by Ben Wysocki. Though this formula has provided them much success, it's hard to believe that they have long before many begin to catch on. Tracks such as "We Build Then We Break" are a very welcome difference, featuring far more aggression than previously the quartet has shown. Including the previous, notable tracks include "Say When", "Syndicate" and "Never Say Never".