On January 7, Slade, King, guitarist Dave Welsh and drummer Ben Wysocki, the guys who form the American alternative rock band The Fray, released their third studio effort. “Scars & Stories” proved that the members solved their differences and that the band is no longer intending to part ways. After more than one year since the success of their second album, 2009’s self-titled “The Fray,” the band recorded a few special songs for America’s sweethearts, Kermit, sassy Miss Piggy and their friends for the “Muppets: The Green Album” record released in August 2011. Therefore, it was about time to make their release for the old fans who prayed hard for the band’s long lasting unity.
It’s not an album that breaks the rules as the band doesn’t stray from the formula of their old studio efforts but it sounds better than everything they’ve done before. Slow ballads of piano-driven soft rock, positive lyrics that came from their hearts, a fusion of melancholia and hope, a good album for the pure pleasure of listening. As pianist and lead singer Slade told Reuters this week, the purpose of their music is to sing without masks, without marketed images and without pretension. “I don’t have Lady Gaga’s persona, I don’t have Bono’s sunglasses, I’m a bald 30-year-old man standing on stage singing songs about my life and I’m starting to be comfortable with that,” said Slade.
The Fray worked with Grammy-winning music producer Brendan O’Brien and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. “Scars and Stories” differs from the other records, being more “extroverted” as Slade described it, whilst their first two albums were “introverted and introspective”. “1961″ personifies the Berlin Wall; “Munich”, which seems to be the best of all the 12 tracks, is about the human condition, an up-tempo soft rock song incorporates the sound of violin amongst the usual piano, guitar, and drums. “The Fighter” is an emotional song about the lost and found love, about loneliness and the need for a companion. “Maybe we were meant to be lonely, lonely / maybe we were meant be on our own / loneliness has always been with me, with me / maybe we don’t have to be all alone.”
In addition, the band spices up the album with a funky, fun, hot song about a beautiful sexy girl who turns Slade on. It’s called “Turn Me On” and it paves the way for the uptempo ode to love “Heartbeat”, inspired by a visit to Rwanda, and which is filled with hope, and “The Wind”. Themes such as loss, freedom and hope are present in “48 To Go,” which is in fact a diary of a California trip. “Run For Your Life” completes the album because it’s different from the other tracks. It feels fresher and perfect.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the Colorado quartet you’ll adore this album, but if you’re not a fan, than you probably you won’t become one. However, “Scars & Stories” is an album that’s worth listening. It’s uplifting, catchy, beautifully crafted so that its listener can look towards greener pastures.