Album Review: The Fray - Scars & Stories

3 April 2012 | 6:38 pm | Sebastian Skeet

The Fray do what they do very well even if it lacks originality and meaning.

What makes The Fray so distinctive in the land of mainstream radio is that compressed nasal voice. Singer Isaac Slade has an over emotive ring to his voice which makes it clear who you are listening to every time you hear one of their hits. This distinctive voice teamed up with songs written in minor keys fits the commercial sound the band revel in. The Fray do what they do very well even if it lacks originality and meaning. However, Scars & Stories is quite a strong album and the band has managed to capitalise on the success of How To Save A Life with a similar approach.

First single Heartbeat is another mid-tempo stab at the airwaves. Unusually it is driven more by guitar than piano for a change. The band follows their anthemic heart on songs like Run For Your Life and Munich, both wonderfully coloured by producer Brendan O'Brien at the helm. If anything, The Fray are closest to bands like Coldplay as they lean towards stadium rock with a piano at the heart of the sound. Some of the material sounds like it was specifically written for movies as the songs always seem to have a personal angst at their core. The Fighter and 48 To Go are both good examples that sadly miss their mark.

How To Save A Life was such a big success in 2005 it was always going to be hard for a band like The Fray to live up to it. Scars & Stories does well to make up for lost ground on their last release, but still comes up slightly short.