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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: Rock band strays from strengths

"Helios"

The Fray

The Fray, usually known for its heartfelt pop rock ballads, has released “Helios,” a new album that sounds more like a funk demo than the fourth studio album by the alternative rock group. In this album, the band experiments with a newer, groovier sound, but the change in the majority of the album’s tracks is either unnecessary or awkward. However, some of the songs, like “Break Your Plans,” succeed compared to subpar tracks, such as “Give It Away.”

“Break Your Plans” is a heartfelt and beautiful ballad about trying to seek closure or retain balance in a rocky relationship. The song begins with one somber piano chord, paired with artistically gloomy vocals. A graceful piano melody and energetic drum beat are eventually added midway through the song. The main chorus, “Break your plans tonight/ Lay your hand in mine/ There’s no guarantee we’ll make it, make this thing right/ But break your plans for me tonight,” will make the listeners’ chests tighten because of the mournful emotion the song provokes.

The upbeat and substandard track “Give It Away” begins with 30 seconds of an instrumental-only guitar funk before choppy, choking vocals come in. The song is unpleasant with its over-the-top instrumentals. Though the audience may understand the new style as the band trying to drive away from its customarily somber sound, this piece is purposeless, as it does not display the band’s talents.

The majority of this disappointing album’s songs sound dissatisfyingly experimental, making for an inferior and distasteful album that does nothing for The Fray’s image or its sound. Besides for a few songs like “Break Your Plans,” the album’s tracks do not demonstrate any of the brilliant talents or emotionally striking vocals that this Grammy-nominated group usually exhibits.

Ashley Wolf can be reached at awolf2@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @@ashleyjcwolf