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The Fray: Back and as Bland as Ever

Posted 04/24/2009 by Katie Bone

With the 2009 release of their new album, Colorado natives, the Fray, deliver an experience that is both unmemorable and flat.

thefray_smallrealFormed in 2002, this Grammy-nominated band released their debut album How to Save a Life in 2005. They’re best known for their singles, How to Save a Life and Over My Head, both top ten singles in the United States and Canada. With the same production team as their previous album, they set the stage for more of the same.

The band released a new self-titled album in 2009, which has already hit number one on the Billboard charts with over 179,000 copies sold. A video was filmed in Chicago for their new single, You Found Me. Now, if you’ve turned on the radio lately, you’ve undoubtedly heard this new song of their’s, and I will assure you that the rest of the album matches the single. The Fray’s sound is oddly reminiscent of Coldplay, with their smattering of piano at the start of songs, followed by a burst of genuine rock action, and then lapsing into the soft rock doldrums.

Absolute is briefly interesting sounding, before it abruptly drops into the mellow tempo that appears standard for the Fray. Never Say Never and Ungodly Hour are by far the most interesting songs on the album, both attempting Coldplay-esque piano ballads. Never Say Never is promised by the band to be their next single, and they’ve gone so far as to film a video (of which the airing date hasn’t been announced). The tune of Where the Story ends sounds almost disturbingly like How to Save a Life, and We Build Then We Break strikes out against the normal Fray soft-rock, but amounts to a sloppy sounding nothingness. Say When is an accurate description of what one feels while listening to the album.

The Fray “formula” is good for a few songs, but used for all the songs on an entire LP, it becomes rapidly, incredibly dull. The songs stand all right by themselves, but when lumped together in one sitting, the music swiftly fades into the background and never rears its head again. It reminds me slightly of elevator music; not unpleasant but not noticeable, either. The band is dull and doesn’t offend anyone’s palate, but doesn’t satisfy many, either. Bottom line, if you enjoyed the Fray’s first album, by all means go listen to their new one; it’s very much the same. If you find the Fray dull, avoid this album, as it isn’t anything new or exciting.frayrecords