The newest album from The Fray, Helios, took me for surprise as it left me with nothing other than positive remarks. Coming from someone who has never been super into the band themselves, or rock music as a whole, I found that this album had a great mixture of style when it came to genre, instrumental, and lyrical diversity. The Fray, an American rock band formed in 2002, had it’s peak in 2005 with their album and hit single “How To Save a Life”, but have been under the radar (and in my opinion, will continue to stay that way) for the last nine years. And although this album has great potential for billboard-topping singles and might even be billboard-topping in general, the band itself just isn’t popular enough to reach those levels, which is unfortunate.
Helios starts off with “Hold My Hand”, a rock ballad paired with a piano focused instrumental, basically a Fray original. Something that opens up the album and not too crazy, a comfort zone piece that fans can jam out to before they realize that their favorite band has driven into some new endeavors. Following is “Love Don’t Die”, my personal favorite off the album. Think of Arctic Monkey’s mixed with The Black Keys and you get They Fray’s own interpretation of alternative rock, along with an instrumental filled with lots of guitar and drums, which ended up playing out well for them in my opinion.
Now, although this album was close to greatness there were some songs that stood out as duds. “Closer To Me” and “Shadow And A Dancer” are “skip” songs; you play them once, then realize that they really aren’t all that great and that you’d skip them any other time you were to play the album. The reason why these songs weren’t all that great is because they seem like rush jobs, the lyrics to these don’t have much meaning and are very repetitive and the instrumentals seem scattered, sometimes sounding like they don’t even belong to the song.
I wish I was able to dissect all of the songs on the album and talk about their strengths and weaknesses, but although the track list only held 11 songs, each song brought you into a new mood. There was no repetition and every track brought a new surprise, which is hard to find these days. I feel as if The Fray had more of a following, Helios would be appreciated so much more; the album is truly great. Score: 8.5/10.
Gabby Shusterman/Photo Editor