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The Fray
Artist: The Fray 
Label: Epic/INO
Length: 10/43:20

This self-titled disc is the sophomore effort by The Fray.  Their first disc, How to Save a Life, was a monster success, selling 3.2 million records in an era where physical CDs are becoming passé.  Buoyed by multiple usages on television show soundtracks, and Isaac Slade’s unique vocals, they seemed like the next breakout artist to come.

Here’s the problem: Second discs are often rushed follow ups, hoping to cash in on the success of ten or so songs a band had spent years honing and perfecting.  Leftover demos are used, new songs don’t get fully fleshed out, and a certain “sound” is prevalent as the band tries to establish an identity to its fans.

I have no idea if that’s what happened here, but The Fray feels like formulaic Coldplay lite alt rock for frat rats and soccer moms.  It is very, very similar to the first album, and features at least seven songs that are impossible to tell apart, other than by their lyrics.  Even the single, “You Found Me,” feels like we’ve walked this ground before.  And it must be noted: this song is more about the disappointment of a fractured relationship than it is about God.  

As This Train once penned: “Strike up the bland.”

Brian A. Smith
19 April 2009


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