‘Scars and Stories’ | The Fray

| Music Editor
For fans of
The Script, Snow Patrol, OneRepublic
Singles to download
“Heartbeat,” “The Fighter,” “Run for Your Life,” “1961”

Denver-based pop-rock band The Fray is known for its massive choruses, catchy hooks and lead singer Isaac Slade’s heart-wrenching vocals. With the release of The Fray’s third album, “Scars and Stories,” it seems that not much has changed. The band, popular for chart toppers like “Over My Head (Cable Car),” “You Found Me” and everyone’s favorite sing-along “How to Save a Life,” doesn’t deviate much from the formula for its latest offering. This results in a solid, if slightly tedious, album.

The best song on the album is the first track, “Heartbeat,” which is also the first single. Although this may be because it sounds so similar to the band’s previous hits, this doesn’t lessen the fact that it is catchy and passionate. It’s a bit of a shame, as the rest of the LP never quite manages to live up to the uplifting emotionality of its first song. In fact, the album seems to gradually decline in quality, with the majority of the best songs lumped towards the beginning. For example, second track “The Fighter” is a powerfully written song with lilting melodies, a soaring chorus and expressive lyrics following the narrative of a boxer and his lover. The songwriting on this album is impressive, with many songs taking on a story, like the fast-paced anthem “1961.” However, as the album progresses, it begins to fall into rather safe and boring territory, with ballads that never really lift off the ground, such as “I Can Barely Say” and “Be Still.” It is a rather disappointing finish for such a strongly started album.

Certainly, The Fray’s particular brand of piano-driven pop-rock is always palatable and catchy. But as the album stretches on, the songs begin to merge into undifferentiated, albeit pleasant, mush. Die-hard fans and casual listeners should be happy with “Scars and Stories,” but it is merely a step in the same direction for The Fray.

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