Handclaps break out throughout the first tune on John Smith’s new record, like to unveil the ideas to come

Handclaps break out throughout the very first tune on John Smith’s new record, like to applaud the ideas to come.

“The Fray” is the British singer-songwriter’s answer to the calendar year just past, and he provides 12 songs of resilience, dedication and expect, with determination from the lyrics and buoyancy from the audio.

“It’s been a mad year; where do I start?”

There is a calming influence into the record’s melodic folk-pop, constructed on Smith’s delicate guitar work (he adds his tunings from the liner notes). And he’s excellent aid: Bill Frisell supplies a stylish guitar solo on”The Very Best of Me,” and beautiful vocal service comes courtesy of Sarah Jarosz, Lisa Hannigan and the Milk Carton Children.

The structures benefit from a nice selection. “To the Shore” swings like a shanty, the title cut is raised by gospel piano, and”As You Are” is a waltz for recovery.

“Hold On” functions as the group’s centerpiece. With celebrity, angelic backing vocals along with a wise guitar riff, it is very good music, and decent advice.