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Album Review: The Fray – Scars And Stories

4 min read

American rock heavyweights The Fray make the long awaited return this month with the highly anticipated new record, Scars and Stories. It’s been 3 years since we heard anything from The Fray and the absence has been felt but made up ten fold with a collection of brand new, inspiring numbers of indie-rock at its most supreme.

TheFrayScarsAndStoriesThe Fray hit the big time in 2005 with the release of the internationally successful single, How To Save A Life. The track was almost unavoidable as it made its way through radio waves, film soundtracks and hit TV shows. There was no stone that you could hide under where this track wasn’t being played on constant rotation. 7 years on and The Fray are still powerfully charging ahead of the rest as they prepare for the release of the bands 3rd studio album. Scars and Stories is a spectacular return to form for the four piece Denver rockers who set themselves apart from the hoards of mainstream hopefuls as one of America’s strongest acts to emerge over the past decade.

The numbers that make up Scars and Stories‘ track-listing all follow a similar theme but not one that bores in the slightest. It is all rather anthemic with an overflowing energy coursing through each of the 12 tracks that piece the record together.

The opening Heartbeat and the following The Fighter set the mood for Scars and Stories and both come complete with a stadium, Coldplay-esque feel to them. The bands knack at writing indie masterpieces couldn’t be more evident than what we are offered with these two numbers which, in my opinion, present themselves instantly as two of the highlight additions to the record.

Turn Me On is a fun player with a grinding bass-line pulsating under the bands effortless musicianship. Front man Isaac Slade’s vocals ring out on the track with a bounciness to his “oh, oh, oh, oh’s” that frolic throughout the chorus providing the number with a confident vocal swagger.

Run For Your Life pulls the momentum of the album back slightly. With a versatile chord change the swaying verses transcend swiftly into a vigorous declaration of love as Slade sings out the title of the track within the chorus with sincerity and passion.

After a quick drum roll we are presented with the progressive track, The Wind. Brimming with everything we love about The Fray, the track is uplifting in every way imaginable. A collision of instrumental harmony and Slade’s faultless and articulated vocals set this track apart from the rest of the album with a musical superiority while 1961 puts Slade’s range to the test in a track bursting with energy, a harmony laden band singalong and some memorable guitar riffs.

With all the uptempo tracks that are present on Scars and Stories we are offered a pair of gorgeous ballads in the form of I Can Barely Say and the closing, Be Still. Both fit nicely among the rest of the albums more accelerated additions and show off the bands versatility to songwriting with I Can Barely Say providing a well orchestrated string section.

Knowing exactly what works in music, and more importantly, what works for them, The Fray don’t stray too far from the formula that gave the band that push into the mainstream with their debut back in 2005. After all, if it ain’t broke then why fix it. Instead of changing the magic that the band create so effortlessly they have modified and matured everything that makes The Fray such an fantastic four-piece.

You wait for a record to have that WOW effect and every so often that album presents itself to you. Scars and Stories is that album and one that has shown me that there is still some zest in songwriting left for those who can deliver and The Fray do just that with this latest inspiring collection.

Buy ‘The Fray – Scars And Stories’ from Amazon