On past albums, the Fray's stock-in-trade has been crafting earnest, piano-based tunes that successfully capture and articulate the simple yet complex interpersonal issues that life brings. Tracing both the exhilaration and despondency of love, these portraits also tended to expose the vulnerabilities, uncertainties and insecurities we all face. Drained of this pathos, the Fray's music probably would not have resonated on the massive scale that it did. Scars is sort of the opposite. The music is at the forefront, while the lyrics tend to rely more on subtlety. While a few of the songs tread familiar ground, for the most part they draw from a much bolder and more dynamic palette. The aptly titled "Turn Me On," with its sensuous groove, is perhaps the most notable of the bunch. There are a couple of numbers ("Heartbeat" and "Fighter") that you can tell were built for arenas, but those are balanced with more organic moments like the interstate-ready "48 to Go" and "Here We Are," which could be a natural extension of "We Build Then We Break." Scars is an audacious step forward for the Fray.
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