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Helios by The Fray shines a pleasant pop music light

(L-R) Isaac Slade, Ben Wysocki, David Welsh, and Joe King of The Fray attend the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City.
(L-R) Isaac Slade, Ben Wysocki, David Welsh, and Joe King of The Fray attend the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Stephen Lovekin

"Helios" by The Fray

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In the Greek mythology world, Helios was the sun god. In the pop music world, Helios, the new album by The Fray, shines a pleasant light that while not blindingly brilliant is well worth a listen.

While immediately recognizable as The Fray, laced with the band's signature piano-driven rock/pop driving melodic style, Helios makes an effort to expand the musical palette, often with excellent results. The album's first single "Love Don't Die" is a jangly guitar and rhythm gallop, while "Give It Away" is a surprisingly effective stab at old school funk. Throughout, whereas piano usually dominates The Fray's sound, while not abandoning its fundamental sound there is a concerted effort to fold the piano into the overall sound rather than wrap everything around it.

The band has always been rather circumspect about displaying its individual members faith in its work, and while Helios does not vary from this pattern it also offers nothing to contradict or offend. Casting Crowns this is not, but as a collection of mostly positive love songs it is a welcome relief from the sex-drenched fare clogging radio airwaves these days.

The Fray is not the second coming of The Beatles, and even with the additional style flavorings Helios can get a tad repetitive. That noted, overall it is a solid release worthy of perusal.