On February 25 The Fray released a new album, entitled Helios. now i was busy at the time, so this news came as a joyful surprise since I couldn’t be determinedly following the news of it at the time. Featuring the singles Hurricane and Love Don’t Die, I listened to the album for the first time as soon as i had a chance.
The opening track, Hold My Hand, drew me in with both it’s melody and it’s lyrics. It was a wonderful opening, and lead straight into the second track, Love Don’t Die. Love Don’t Die has a stronger beat than melody in comparison to Hold My Hand. However, it does this in a way that perfectly completes the way that the lyrics are sang. The third track on the album, Give It Away, opens with an style reminiscent of 80’s pop in away. That’s the best way I can describe it, considering I don’t listen to much from that time period. Overall it’s a great song, and I enjoy listening to. It ends on a note that leads you ready to go into Closer To Me.
Upon reaching this fourth track, the album returns to the early melody driven songs. However, there are a myriad of differences between track four and track one, the most obvious being the way that the lyrics and melody blend into each other more in Closer To Me, whereas Hold My Hand makes a slight more distinction between the two. Track Five, Hurricane, makes a return to a slightly harder melody in comparison to the previous song. There is a stronger distinction between lyrical and melodic content, the instruments fading to give way to the vocals, and vice verse. Keep on Wanting has a softer feel to it in comparison to Hurricane. It holds its own after the fifth track though, blending together melody and lyrics over a strong beat, eventually letting all three blend together to highlight choir like background vocals.
Our Last Days holds the seventh slot on the album. In this track the album drifts away from the choir like voices of the previous song, and incorporates more orchestral instruments, including a stronger holding of the piano in the song, and a well placed violin, or some other string that’s played with a bow. The vocals end up complimenting these beautifully, and the orchestral instruments don’t take away from the guitars that can still be heard through the song. Track eight, Break Your Plans, has a slightly darker tone than previous tracks, and the main feature of the song is the vocals and lyrics, with the other instruments playing in the background, slowly building as the song goes on. The voice may carry the song, but the instruments drive it forward. Wherever This Goes makes a return to beat driven music, but the vocals are much stronger than the beat, introducing the melody of the song alongside of them.
The tenth track, Shadow and a Dancer, opens simply, but it builds second by second, creating a strength that Wherever This Goes didn’t have. The longer the song played, the more that was introduced at the steady pace. However, it differs from the build up of break Your Plans, as in Shadow and a Dancer is quite vocally driven, carried by the complimenting music that builds in the background of the song. The final track, Same as You, makes a return to instrument driven, the opening seconds possessing an echoing drum sound, maintaining a strong start and fade as the vocals and guitars slowly introduce themselves, with the main focus becoming the vocals and lyrics. Towards the end, vocals and instruments begin to melt together, until it simply becomes one single, fading note. The song certainly completes the album, being neither too much nor too simple. All in all, Helios is a great album with a lot to offer.