Released: February 3, 2009
The long awaited sophomore album from The Fray is a piano driven pop album that just seems to have a lot of class. The new tunes are catchy, very well produced and in general just take the The Fray up a notch in their song writing ability. I never purchased their first record, but I did buy their single “Over My Head (Cable Car)" which I still love to listen to. That song, which is apparently about a broken relationship between lead singer Isaac Slade and once bassist Caleb Slade, deserves any attention it has received and continues to get. It’s got a passion lyrically that only few bands can capture and the music makes it worth radio air play—and any song that isn’t about a girl that gets airplay is a plus in my book. But from the few tracks I heard over the years I never really got into the rest of The Fray’s debut album. Yet now with their newest studio album I can honestly say that these guys are probably here to stay.
The latest self-titled album has more singles than I know what do with and after listening to it about ten times this week the album is just solid. The opening track “Syndicate” is reminiscent of the piano work of Augustana, but brings that Fray sound back around from “Over My Head” that I dig so much. Picking up speed and intensity a bit, the second track “Absolute” really just continues what is a great start to the record. Like the opener “Syndicate”, “Absolute” has a chorus that just gets stuck in my head. It’s driving verses and light and airy pre-chorus are a good mix from the Denver natives. Surprisingly, a favorite track of mine is “You Found Me" which was their first released single back in November 2008. The Fray have figured out a sound that works for them and have perfected it in "You Found Me." Lyrically it opens with "I found God on the corner of 1st and Amistad" which is a bit strange, but I guess it leads us to think we don’t really know where he is until "… you found me" in the chorus.
Continuing what is a great beginning, the next four tracks are a power packed bunch. “Say When” is a bit of controlled chaos which appears to be about fear and giving in. The last three verses are strewn together to build up the music and lyrics for the final chorus—all of which is pretty powerful. “Never Say Never” follows as another piano ballad about a broken, but restored relationship and slows the record down a bit—just a bit. The next two song “Where The Story Ends” and “Enough For Now” are probably my next favorite songs after “You Found Me.” The simplicity of “Where The Story Ends” is just fabulous. There’s nothing fancy about just playing your piano with the band backing you up, but that song blends everything just right. Like the previous songs, it continues the passion that is felt vocally throughout the entire record. The intro for “Enough For Now” starts at the end of the previous track and sounds like an old radio. The one thing that sticks out about this track are the drums. With a quick kick-hit-kick-hit verse to a driving tom beat on the chorus they just might make this song the next single. I don’t want to fail to mention that this record does a great job off adding orchestration throughout. Though subtle, you will catch the violins and cellos popping up around and “Enough For Now” is no exception.
I know I’ve been raving about each track, but I just can’t get passed how impressed I’ve been with this record. I half expected a record that was trying too hard to sell in the pop market, but what I got was classic American pop-rock that tells me that they’re doing something right in Denver. Often the sophomore album from a band is disappointing because their record was brilliant, but this isn’t the case with The Fray. I’m not saying their first album is bad (because I honestly haven’t heard it all), but I can say that I’m positive this new record brings a quiet confidence to the music industry and that’s why I think we’ll be seeing these guys around for a while.
Buy The Fray on Amazon.com or iTunes.
Listen to The Fray on Last.fm or MySpace.