Album of the Week: The Fray – "The Fray"

I don’t think not a single fan of Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill or even Scrubs have never known this band. Their first ever hit “How To Save A Life” was all over the place when it was released in 2006. They’ve had some pretty much radio hits too such as “Over my Head” and “Look After You”. But since then, all we ever knew of them was their songs appearing on every drama show on US television. Now they’ve come up with a follow up to their million-selling album “How To Save A Life” with a self-titled sophomore album. Is it really worth the wait?

The sophomore album doesn’t much feel any different from their debut disc. It’s still filled with the usual song craftsmanship. The album doesn’t feel like it was a brand new material. Even though the Fray sticked to their element, they failed to discover much of their wide ranged artistic capabilities as an artist. Hence, they’ve come up with a similar, but then pleasing album filled with tracks that somehow are left-overs from their first LP. In short, there are just some re-creation of the left pieces that didn’t fit onto their first offering.

Even though it sounded a “How To Save A Life” part II, they’re eager enough to put some tracks that somehow caught the ears of the pop music mainstream. Their lead single “You Found Me” which cracked the top 10 even without “The Fray” having released is quite impressive, with mournful vocals from Isaac Slade, it’s a classic pop/rock anthem ala “Look After You” from their previous record. The opener “Syndicate” is the exact epitome of what The Fray really sounds like with the piano opener that’s just pleasing enough.

The Fray ironically did a good job singing their own songs. Their new material is a little bit more louder than the previous one. There’s more abundance of drums, piano and of course Slade’s ever classic pop/rock vocals that sounds the same althroughout the album. With songs like “Absolute”, “Say When” they’ve put on some rockier sound onto their music. Although there are lots of things that are in common with each song in the album like the songs “Where The Story Ends” which is a resemblance of the song “How To Save A Life” built with fast-paced semi-rock tune. Over-all, “The Fray” did a pretty good job maintaining the sound of their band. Even though it’s a major disappointment, it’s still a commendable pick for those who can’t get over of their first LP and the type you would hear while having a daily cup of coffee at Starbucks.

The sad part is “The Fray” didn’t want to extend their musicality as far as they can. Instead, the album is a 43 minute extension of their first LP that plays out to the piano-infused rock songs with a little bit of quirkiness and the whole issue of melancholy, sadness, bitterness, resentment and bla bla… I just hope they would come up with something better, the next time around when they’re completely over about saving somebody elses’ lives.


RELEASED: February 3, 2009

STAND-OUT TRACKS: “Syndicate”, “You Found Me” , “Absolute”


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