Grammy-nominated pop-rock band The Fray might not ring any bells. But you've probably heard at least one of their songs. How to Save a Life was everywhere a few years ago, appearing in countless movie trailers and TV shows.
Now they are back with a new album, Helios. Over the years, the band has perfected their brand of slightly emo piano ballads. Opening track Hold my Hand is a perfect example of their tried and tested formula, with a piano intro and Isaac Slade's raw, gritty vocals.
There's a lot of "ahhh-ing" in the background of Helios. Love Don't Die and Same as You both feature distracting backing vocals in the chorus. It would be fun to sing along to at a concert, but seems rather forced and overdone.
The Fray deserves props for stepping out of their comfort zone; Love Don't Die even has a slightly funky twang to it.
Helios is consistent record, almost to a fault - it is way too similar to what they've put out before. But at the very least, it does make for a soothing study playlist.