The Fray Review

19 Mar

alirollestonThis is the second part of Alistair Rolleston’s double album review, not a review of Joel’s violent attack caused by his comments on U2’s latest work.

“…If you are a U2 fan, sure, buy this album (No Line on the Horizon). You may be, as I am, disappointed with it, but at least you won’t write them off on the basis of this.

Or, better idea, you could buy The Fray’s new album.

BONUS review – The Fray

10 tracks of pure musical Genius. Well ok, 9. There’s one song there I’m not really fussed on…

The Fray were placed in a rather unfortunate situation when their debut album became an international best seller and was almost universally critically acclaimed. Some of you may be wondering how I’m coming to that conclusion but bear with me and I shall explain myself. A debut album is the band at their earliest beginnings. They often haven’t had the time to grow accustomed to success. To suddenly be thrust into a world of stardom and not to crash and burn takes some serious character, but thankfully The Fray seem to have coped very well with suddenly becoming world wide superstars. The other issue is the musical one; with a band being at it’s beginnings they’re naturally expected to get better over time, so The Fray setting the bar so high for themselves the first time around may not have been the smartest thing in the world to do.

Isaac Slade and the boys, however, have gone and done it again. From the piano introduction of “Syndicate” through to the final guitar chords of “Happiness” this is a fantastic piece of work from the Denver four-piece.
The album starts out with “Syndicate”, a cheery little number that is instantly up-lifting and setting a good tone for the rest of the album. Moving on in through “Absolute”, a song about two people who desperately want to know each other, the album hits “You Found Me”, the lead single. Instantly recognisable from the piano intro, it is this song where The Fray’s Christian background is perhaps most audible. Slade talks about his disappointment and almost anger with God in a way similar to Job, talking about a time in his life shortly after his girlfriend was involved in a serious accident. This song alone gains more depth that the entire of “No Line on the Horizon” put together I’m sorry to say.

the_fray01

Perhaps my personal favourite song on the album is “Enough for Now”, written quite possibly about Slade’s grandmother. The song talks about how his grandfather always wanted a son and only ever had a daughter, and his anger and disappointment with this, illustrated in the lines,
“Left my mother’s mother,
Without so much as a kiss”

The song strikes a real chord, and the muffled intro at the end of the previous song, “Where the Story Ends”, is a masterful touch.
Maybe the one dud song on the album is “Ungodly Hour”, still haven’t quite figured out what that one’s about… After which the album moves into its finale, with the penultimate track sounding slightly Chris Martin-esque, and the final track flowing on from it. “Happiness” is another stroke of genius, talking about how we’re always running after what we want and never catching it, whereas if we just try first and foremost to serve God happiness will find us. It’s not often you find good biblical advice in a pop song, so this song is a rare treat.

From start to finish, I love this album. I love the songs, the lyrics, the harmonies, the piano and the way they all fit together, the way they all just work. It’s really fantastic to see a Christian-influenced band doing well. I was disgusted that this album entered the charts at number 8, it deserves so much more. This is my little bit of publicity for it. If you head into HMV tomorrow, wondering what to buy, buy this. You will not be disappointed.”

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