The Fray – Scars & Stories
Record Label: Epic Records
Release Date: February 7, 2012
It’s hard to believe Scars & Stories is only the third go around for The Fray. After the massive breakthrough success of their debut record How to Save a Life back in 2005, The Fray have dominated modern radio. From the soaring success of “Over My Head” and “How to Save a Life” off that record to the repeated success with hits “You Found Me” and “Never Say Never" of the self-titled follow up, the band have mastered their piano pop-rock formula.
Now almost exactly three years since The Fray was released, Scars & Stories is the return of The Fray. The guys definitely take a different approach this time around, welcoming producer Brendan O’Brien to the boards, which brings a more rock and roll sound to this record. The band also traveled to various locations as ammo for the songwriting content on the record, allowing various stories and sights to come to life within Isaac Slade’s lyrics.
Memorable and infectious, lead single “Heartbeat” kicks off Scars & Stories with Slade’s familiar croon propelling what may be the strongest track on the record. A calming guitar rhythm – courtesy of Joe King and Dave Welsh – fluctuates throughout “The Fighter,” wonderfully accompanying Slade’s lovely vocal delivery over a soft piano.
The pacing of Scars & Stories mimics that of The Fray’s previous endeavors in ideal fashion – it’s calm with well-placed buildups and strong choruses. The keys definitely play a dominant role this time around, notably bringing further poignancy to the ballad “I Can Barely Say,” reminiscing the atmosphere of “Never Say Never.”
The sound does change up from time to time, nonetheless. “The Wind” and “48 To Go” carry a distinct Southern drawl, while “Munich” fires off a rocking gun with a huge chorus. “Rainy Zurich” highlights the band’s musicianship, as the guitars and keys morph around the raw vocals to create a simple rock song.
The final “Be Still” hits the brakes hard, with only a piano accompanying Slade on this touching ballad. A song glistening with hope, the closer uses simplicity to its advantage, as it’s the calmness and serenity that makes it tender and graceful. As Scars & Stories comes to a close, it sums up everything The Fray have been about the past seven years. While they don’t throw any curveballs or stir the pot too much, the band definitely stays true to their core, crafting yet another memorable piano pop-rock record with these stories.
Haha pretty much if you like their other records, you'll like this one.
Hmm... I was SO into their first record in high school but I couldn't get into their second record at all. Thanks for the review though, I actually didn't realize it was coming out today, checking this out on Rdio right now.