“I wanna kiss your scars tonight,” Isaac Slade sings on “Heartbeat,” a hope-rock anthem inspired by a visit to Rwanda. If it were a Lonely Island parody of an earnest rock band it’d be kind of funny. Unfortunately, the Fray are terrifyingly serious. Six years since their hit “How to Save a Life,” they’re still pumping American-Coldplay ballads full of sky-groping choruses and symphonic rushes. Producer Brendan O’Brien seems to have pushed them to turn down the Chris Martin piano rock a little. But a song about a boxer losing his last bout while his woman calls out his name (“The Fighter”) is a patient beyond song-doctoring.
Listen to “Heartbeat”:
• Photos: Random Notes