Album Review
The Fray - Scars & Stories Album Cover

The Fray - Scars & Stories

Reviewed by
The FrayScars & Stories
Record Label: Epic Records
Release Date: February 7, 2012
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
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.

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 39
10:03 PM on 02/06/12
Thomas Nassiff
retired staff member
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Gotta listen to this, I have a soft spot for The Fray whenever they come on during the inspirational ending of an episode of Scrubs.
10:04 PM on 02/06/12
Ryan Gardner
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Gotta listen to this, I have a soft spot for The Fray whenever they come on during the inspirational ending of an episode of Scrubs.
Haha pretty much if you like their other records, you'll like this one.
10:10 PM on 02/06/12
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Searos's Avatar
I have yet to hear this album but always felt The Fray were good moody music.
10:22 PM on 02/06/12
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sammyboy516's Avatar
Streamed this on iTunes, I liked it.
10:23 PM on 02/06/12
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davefalcone777's Avatar
Gotta listen to this, I have a soft spot for The Fray whenever they come on during the inspirational ending of an episode of Scrubs.
This 100%.
10:31 PM on 02/06/12
The Starship Renegade
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Really looking forward to hearing this one--both of their other cds are great!
10:41 PM on 02/06/12
Cody Nelson
FightHaver (Fast Drive)
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Band is very awesome. Album is good.
11:01 PM on 02/06/12
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Ryan, Isaac Slade doesn't sing on Rainy Zurich. That's Joe King.

I feel like this album was a bit of a disappointment. Not as many hard hitting songs as on the last two records. But still enjoyable.
11:39 PM on 02/06/12
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bandnamexmyname's Avatar
Good shit.
11:50 PM on 02/06/12
climb is all we know
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personally, i like the bonus tracks a lot more than half the record.
12:23 AM on 02/07/12
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CastlesXClouds's Avatar
the fray <3
02:47 AM on 02/07/12
Lost in the dream.
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bencoles's Avatar
Very consistent band, but in a good way. Great live as well.
04:49 AM on 02/07/12
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thepianominstre's Avatar
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.
05:26 AM on 02/07/12
World Champs
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drudo182's Avatar
Love "Heartbeat".

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