Fray, The - How To Save A Life

Denver's The Fray are going to saturate the airwaves, if they haven't already by the time you are reading this. This melodic-pop quartet plays piano driven tunes that have drawn comparisons to Brit-pop acts Coldplay and Keane. This album hit number 5 on iTunes and went gold in the USA recently, while airplay charts reported "Over My Head (Cable Car)" at No.7 and No.5 on mainstream and Adult Top 40 charts respectively.


On opening this package, I immediately noticed the professionalism, so discovering that this release was backed by Epic and Sony BMG was no surprise. The production reflects this, with soaring, melodic vocals backed by cleverly arranged instrumentation. A particularly good example is the addition of strings for "Look After You", which produces a subtly powerful sound that envelopes you and forces you to pay attention.


Perhaps the most noticeable asset to The Fray though, is Isaac Slade's perfect voice. Fans of falsetto look no further; this man has perhaps the best I have heard in a long time. Lyrically, most songs are about heartache, but likely fans of these guys will not be focusing on lyrical content, they will be focusing on the sound.


To get the most out of these guys, this is perhaps the best thing to do, because lush harmonies are what they do best. Those who do go into the lyrics will find that although the content is rather repeated, the structure is varied and the wording conjures up some good images, such as "Over My Head (Cable Car); "As you lose the argument in a cable car/ hanging above as the canyon comes between").


Musically, this release is pretty much flawless, as you would expect coming from such a wealthy backing. The drums and guitar are mainly layered deep behind the piano and vocals, and this works well, with the sound taking on a cascading quality, rather than the more driving sound you would expect with stronger guitar and drums.


I have given this record repeated listens, and have kept finding myself back at "Over My Head (Cable Car)". This is the first single, and you have probably heard it several times on the radio, so you will know what I mean when I say that this song is going to catapult The Fray into the international limelight.


Title track "How To Save A Life" also features prominently on this record, and will probably be your second favourite track. Others that stuck with me were the already mentioned "Look After You" and opener "She Is". Frankly, I don't think I will get the second release from these guys, because I think it will sell itself.


Fans of Coldplay rush out and grab this as soon as you can, because I'm certain you will like it, while those who hate piano, Coldplay, or melodic rock steer clear. This album has the genre down to a tee.

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