Dublin’s The Script is one of those bands that will polarise opinion no matter how hard it tries. It goes without saying that music this polished and melodic will sell by the bucket load and top charts throughout the world. On the other hand, a lot of self-respecting music fans will avoid this album like the plague.
Formed in Dublin by producers Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan and session musician Glen Power, the Script can call on years of musical experience, with O’Donoghue and Sheehan boasting credits on recordings by The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins.
This background in urban music is readily apparent on The Script, with the trio mining a rich seam of funky R&B-lite pop rock and O’Donoghue adopting a vocal style similar to white soulsters Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke.
Close your eyes and listen to the singles We Cry and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and it is hard not to think of the US bands Maroon 5 and One Republic, two acts that have reaped huge commercial rewards by straddling the worlds of R&B and rock.
This is a beautiful sounding album, with immaculate playing and a production geared to repeated radio play. It is easy to imagine every track being released as a single without devaluing the whole, with the stadium ready rocker Break Even and the confessional ballad I’m Yours prime candidates for mass exposure and transatlantic success. Even the obligatory bonus track (Anybody There) boasts a killer melody.
Problems arise with a casual study of the lyric sheet, with the trio’s attempts to reference their Dublin roots on We Cry, Before The Worst and Rusty Halo failing to connect. And the line ‘There are no holes in his shoes/But a big hole in his world’ from The Man Who Can’t Be Moved is an early leader in the race for the worst lyric of the year.
Lyrical faux pas aside, why is this such a hard record to love? In a similar fashion to Maroon 5, the Script produce songs that bubble away in the background but never really connect on that deeper emotional level required of all great music.
You will be hearing this album on the radio and the high street for months to come, but try picturing the band members or remembering their names and see if you don’t struggle (and let’s face it, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine has model good looks but who remembers his name?). Next time round, the Script needs to deliver more substance and less style to capture the hearts of music fans. In the meantime, they can sit back and watch the money roll in.