How To Save A Life

The Fray

Sony, 2005

http://www.thefray.com

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/14/2006

Someone remind me to stop buying albums based on cover art. And that not every sale CD is actually worth the reduced $9.99 price tag. That said, the first full-length album from The Fray succeed in fulfilling the demands of a ten-buck impulse purchase, providing an enjoyable, albeit cliched, listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Hailing from Denver, Colorado, the pop-rock quartet made a resonance with their first single, the instantly likeable slice of relationship angst, "Over My Head (Cable Car)." Though they barely ever leave anything to the imagination, falling back on tried and true lyrics like "Let's rearrange / I wish you were a stranger I could disengage / Say that we agree and then never change," the band have inexplicably found strength in predictability. Even if the same sentiments have been rehashed a thousand times, the catchy chorus of the piano-based "She Is" still shines as an opener, and the sentimental, mid-tempo "How To Save A Life" is the highlight (though fortunately not the highpoint by just the third track) of the album for me.

The Fray's vocals have been likened to David Gray on numerous occasions, but their arrangements are nothing short of Coldplay and the original culprits, U2. Among the influences on How To Save A Life, there's also hints of Keane and Ben Folds Five present (useless trivia that doesn't fit in anywhere else: they opened for legendary geeks Weezer last July).

With pop-rock, though, the risk is always run of being trapped by sameness. And even though The Fray are nothing revolutionary, songs like the low-key ballad "Hundred" and "Dead Wrong" are enjoyable nonetheless.

On first listen, How To Save A Life sounds like the type of album you've heard a thousand times before. But over time, the Fray's hopeful heartache may just be enough to win you over. Even though my expectations admittedly weren't anything more intensive than decent artwork, The Fray managed to prove my usual biases against pop-rock wrong.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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