Denver-based piano rock band The Fray released their third studio album “Scars and Stories,” which plays off of the typical sappy, yet oftentimes telling and moving songs that have made the band famous. However, this album lacks the force their previous albums possessed.
“Scars and Stories” opens with the band’s first single off the new album called “Heartbeat,” which tells the honest and emotional story of love and the obstacles that come with two people opening up to each other in a new relationship. Although the song was inspired by a trip the band took to Rwanda, it tells the story about two people becoming one as they work through the odds and ends of getting to know each other for who they really are. The sentimental tune is worthy of being a successful single for the seasoned band, but it lacks the rawness of previous hits such as “Over My Head (Cable Car)” and “You Found Me.”
The third song of the album, “Turn Me On” is the quick, upbeat break of the album that provides the listeners with a different kind of song that The Fray typically does not produce. This sexually driven song diverts from their typical emotionally charged songs and provides a much more outgoing and upbeat vibe to the album as a whole. Although this is a pleasant change from the sometimes depressing narrative of the band’s typical music, the lead singer Isaac Slade’s smooth voice suits this genre. It seems ill-fitting for an album that is slightly depressing and slow paced. “Turn Me On” has the potential to be a second single off of the album, while simultaneously showing off the versatility of Slade’s voice.
The 12-song album closes with “Be Still;” a song that rings true to the roots of music that made The Fray a wildly popular band in the first place. This emotional ballad ends the album peacefully, slowly and calmly. It would make for a solid ending to a mediocre album.
While the album is packed with the narrative songwriting that fans of The Fray appreciate, the album lacks any obvious breakthrough songs that will surely be a success as singles. This does not mean that the songs are not written or performed well. The album merely seems less impressive than the two prior and the album seems to be comprised of more of the typical sound expected of The Fray. “Scars and Stories” has potential as the songs are meaningful and profound, but the album lacks the edge of the powerhouse hits that skyrocketed The Fray to stardom.