Saturday, October 28, 2006

How To Save A Life

album review

Album: How To Save A Life
Band: The Fray

With the massive success of their single 'Over My Head (Cable Car)', The Fray have earned comparisons to the likes of Coldplay, Keane, and Jimmy Eat World. Give their debut album, ‘How To Save A Life’ one listen and you’ll know why. The band offers piano-driven mid-tempo pop with hints of alternative rock thrown in for good measure, and their first full-length album hosts music that has managed to win over the MTV audience and has also been featured on shows like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy.

'Over My Head (Cable Car)', the band's biggest hit, is by far the best moment of the album. Title track 'How To Save A Life' is strong on melody, and has powerful lyrics influenced by vocalist Isaac Slade's experience as a mentor at a camp for troubled teens. Songs like the more upbeat 'She Is' and 'All At Once' are catchy and enjoyable, while tracks like the mellower 'Trust Me' and 'Heaven Forbid' are easy on the ears and manage to captivate the listener. But where the album fails is in the quadrants of variety and originality. Isaac Slade's vocal delivery shows little variation from song to song, and most of the tracks on the album make you wonder if you've already heard them before.

So, yes, the band knows how to put together a melody, but loses points on originality, and even that wouldn't have been such a bad thing had the entire album not sounded like the same song over and over again. While tracks like 'Over My Head' and 'All At Once' have the potential of getting stuck in your mind, you'll have to listen to the album a couple of times before you can tell the songs apart. That said, if you like melodic slow rock, then you probably won't mind the monotony. Each song by itself isn't half bad; it's just that put together, the disk fails to offer anything new or different, and comes off as average at best.

- By S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 27th October, 2006