If you put the melodic pop stylings of Coldplay, the alt-rock melancholia of Switchfoot the piano virtuosity of Ben Folds into one big melting pot then you might get a sense of what The Fray is all about. But comparisons to a-list artists that have dominated the music charts in the past 6 years, The Fray has a voice of its own.
A few weeks ago I had their acoustic song ‘Unsaid’ up on the Black Iris Radio but I only recently got around to hearing their entire debut album “How To Save a Life” so I might be coming a bit late to the party. Nevertheless, rarely has an alternative rock (or more specifically a piano-rock) band’s debut album been this good. Arguably the best track on the disc is the title song ‘How to Save a Life’ whose lyrics are a description of exactly that: an inspiration of Isaac Slade’s attempt to mentor a crack-addicted teenager. The song is the height of the album’s melancholy which follows the lead single ‘Over My Head (Cable Car)’, a snazzy pop-rock tune reminiscent of Gavin DeGraw’s hit ‘Chariot’.
The album is making the rounds on hit TV shows like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘What About Brian’. ‘How to Save a Life’ was an appropriate song recently for a closing emotional scene of an episode of Scrubs this past week and is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long while. The whole album is complete with all the instruments I love to hear from a rock band that play only to complement each other but stand out in their own moments such as the piano and drums. The band also has the ability to up the tempo on songs and slow them down with some melodic consistency where more bands are inclined to keep a steadier tempo.
All around a great album everyone reading this should consider checking out.
I’ve put up 4 songs from the album this week on the Black Iris Radio: ‘Over My Head (Cable Car), ‘How to Save a Life’, ‘All at Once’ and ‘Trust Me’. So check them out while there still up there.
Bottom Line: 4/5
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life”
How to Save a Life – The Fray