The Fray have returned with a lyrical makeover and perhaps the best pop/rock release of the year!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
"How To Save A Life" was a great introduction to this Denver based 4tet thanks largely in part to the kind folks at the hit NBC series Scrubs. However the band flat lined for a significant period and now they have just returned from the pop music witness protection program with a sound while unidentifiable to some is pure harmonic gravy to others.
Helios takes on a more unified approach and the piano driven introspection of Isaac Slade is dialed back into the mix and the untapped energy of the band begins to emerge. Helios is different and different is not bad, just different. Granted the tunes may have far more of a wide range commercial appeal than their last three albums (quick, name them!) their edge is simply more focused and driven. Sorry folks, "commercial" pays the bills. Music is a business, it stopped being art when Buddy Holly left us. The musical irony here is the Audience channel on Direct TV is responsible for introducing many to the new single "Love Don't Die." The tunes "Our Last Days" and "Break Your Plans" are also ripe with potential as we move into the warmer months.
A new producer, a tighter sound and an expanded lyrical growth have The Fray on the edge of perhaps one of the more notable comebacks in pop music. Given the sonic valium on the shelves today, Helios is a winner!