Album Review: The Fray – Helios
The Fray, a quartet from Denver, created by schoolmates Issac Slade and Joe King in 2002, drops their fourth album Helios. Their debut album, How to Save a Life, went double platinum and their first two singles were in the top ten charts around the world becoming an overnight success. Both “Over My Head (Cable Car)” and “How to Save a Life” were wore out on all mixtapes I created. Their sophomore, self-titled album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 in 2009 and their third, Scars and Stories, was #4 in 2012.
Helios opens with “Hold My Hand” which immediately reminds me of Coldplay‘s catchy piano chords. Halfway through the song you’re greeted by a soulful, gospel-like choir in the background and lead singer, Isaac Slade, stays true to his soulful, breathy vocals. “Help me stand / Even if the sky is falling / And I want you to know / I can’t Do it alone / Hold my hand, my hand, my hand.” Definitely a song about not wanting to walk through life’s hardships alone. My favorite, “Give It Away” is rhythmic and funky with a post-disco feel. The slap steel drums, bass grooves and slick guitar lines will make you want to move your hips—a danceable tune.
The head bop and foot tapping will begin with “Hurricane” during the buzzing synths and crisp drum beats. A spunky song about finding that special someone that changes your life and the power new relationship energy can have over you. Slade sings, “She’s so fierce and full of that fire / What’s a boy to do? / She yells and I crumble / She’s got the power.”
This alternative pop-rock band has gone from pop, to funk, to rock within a single album. With a diverse combination of musical styles, fantastically produced harmonies, and strong vocals The Fray has stayed true to their roots, but also offered up something different at the same time. Helios seems faster-paced than their previous albums, but holds strong to their heart-felt lyrics that earned the band their fan base in the first place. With desirable variety from beginning to end, classic Fray is heard throughout. Helios is easily relatable with emotional piano-led ballads, upbeat tunes, and memorable choruses—all of which hold true to the characteristics of a pop-rock album.