The Fray's fourth record, Helios starts out much like everything the band has done for the past eight years with "Hold My Hand." Then, it takes an odd turn through the middle of the record to make something new for The Fray. Helios sees the group stretching themselves musically,y and it's a welcome change. It's not always ideal. Sometimes they're catering to fans of other bands when they are doing these different styles. But for the most part, Helios infuses a ton of new blood into The Fray and will immediately make any of their concerts infinitely more fun to go to.
That live show thing is a big deal for The Fray. Anyone that's been to their shows can tell you that they're damn good live but their shows tend to get a little boring. Their songs are all pretty low key and middle of the road in the live environment. With Helios that's been fixed. The first single off of this record, "Love Don't Die" should have been a hint to everyone that this album would be what it is. Half of this record is filled with songs that have the same upbeat tempo to them as "Love Don't Die." There are even a couple of songs where they tried to rub some funk on things, I'm not sure if that's band's forte or not, but at least they tried it. There are a couple of songs that stand out as clap-along songs that will be perfect for The Fray's shows; "Hurricane" and "Closer To Me." Those two songs are perfect middle album songs on Helios and they're sure to be favorites for fans live. There are still somber/mellow songs that every follower of the band has grown accustomed to; "Hold My Hand" and the gut-wrenching "Our Last Days" immediately stick out as those, but there are some new songs for The Fray on Helios, something that's welcome.
This album is a different record from The Fray and one we haven't heard them make before. It's something they needed to do too. The familiar suspects are here from the band; Isaac Slade's vocal and passion with it will always impress and the production with the record is flawless and perfect. Those things always make an album from these guys good, but the fact that this has The Fray stretching themselves and trying new things makes this album immediately better.