Well it's been a long time since I've been induced strongly to a new album, and The Fray's new album titled Helios certainly looks impressive on paper at least. However, after coming off 2012's Scars and Stories, certainly they look to amend themselves to their previous work. But will Helios change their fortunes?
You can call The Fray a rock band, but I'd rather place them in the alternative rock genre due to their surprising hits back in the past with Never Say Never, How to Save A Life, and mainly their first two albums that pretty much skyrocketed them to fame. I don't care what people say, but Scars and Stories was a downright disappointment from the get-go. The album never had a defining track, suffered from the promotion of singles and the band itself didn't even feel whole-hearted in that project, making it a mess with only a small amount of tracks that managed to 'rescue' the album from being a total disaster. I also want to note that Scars and Stories also felt contained, and didn't have the uplifting melodies that were present back in the first two albums, which I felt was really core of what The Fray was with Isaac Slade leading the charge with his powerful vocals.
And yet, the first song off Helios, titled Hold My Hand just feels like a quality marred track, with an unbalanced tone and doesn't appeal at all. It just felt like the wormhole was back to swallow the album back to their previous two albums. But a change of form was necessary, and duly delivered in the form of Love Don't Die and Give It Away. It's true, that the songs don't really have the emotional vibe that was present in How To Save A Life, which was probably why this album was more of a dramatic, anthemic album than their predecessor albums. With hard-pounding drums in the second track and a guitar-core track in the second, the tracks are bound to get you moving up about your seat. In both tracks, Slade's vocals are tantalizingly amazing, stretching at the chorus and just soothing.
In fact, the album itself does revolve around the 'get up' drums with the occasional guitar riffs that tingles the audience to move, along with Slade's vocals for the ride. And that might not be a bad thing after all, considering their lackluster albums before, Helios' vibe is a great welcome for fans alike, though that may just be personal opinion. The album does also contain shades of their first album with tracks like Keep On Wanting, Closer To Me and Our Last Days which kind of feels similar to the 1-2-3 punch that was Heaven Forbid, Look After You and Hundred on their debut album back in 2005. There is also Break Your Plans which adds to the list as having a similar vibe of an emotional tone.
But Wherever This Goes is where the album picks up once again back from Hurricane, which is an amazing track that kind of belongs together with Love Don't Die and Give It Away. Still though, the track itself preserves the previous track's emotional tones and carries on until the end of the album. The album's closer, Same As You, is probably the culmination of the entire album. It is solid, it has the effective drums, along with an ever-growing melody that, well, kind of just ends sadly. I wished the song was more in depth, and had the characteristics of some of the other emotional tracks on the album, but from what I've heard so far, it is solid and the album justifies itself.
Favourite Tracks: Love Don't Die, Give It Away, Hurricane
Least Favourite Tracks: Hold My Hand
All in all, it's a good album but the band really does seem to be experimenting with newer melodies rather than bringing their music back to it's roots. It's technically good, apart from some minor touches that needed to be added or amended, I would recommend it to other listeners. It's the same case for most other rock albums though: the first half of the album was great, while the second half just barely makes it unscathed.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.