The Fray is easily classified as a purveyor of sugar-coated angst; on closer inspection, the band often provides more than slickly packaged emo tunes, with lyrics that tell personal stories (rather than generic words of love and loss) and instrumentation too skilled to be studio-doctored. The Fray gives a solid live show, too -- expect plenty of kids with MySpace accounts, chanting along with oh-so-dreamy Fray front man Isaac Slade and finding deep meaning in otherwise cursory lyrics ("She is everything I need that I never knew I wanted"). The band's superior musicianship and sweet, crisp tunes are a good complement to the gem of the show (and opening act), Cary Brothers. Brothers offers thoughtful acoustic music through a worldly voice reminiscent of a more optimistic Nick Drake. While he shares space on the Garden State soundtrack with The Shins, and certainly qualifies as an indie rocker, Brothers thankfully lacks the self-loathing -- and self-righteousness -- so common in the music of his otherwise talented peers (Bright Eyes, anyone?). Unlike such acts, Brothers occasionally plugs in and puts forth pleasing rock songs that offset an otherwise potentially depressing set.
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