Tuesday 20 February 2018

Music: Science & Faith by The Script **

(Sony)

John Meagher

John Meagher

If Heidi, Lauren and the rest of those hugely irritating people on The Hills were asked to dream up their perfect band, The Script would be the result. Three good-looking, gym-honed guys who wear all the right clothes, one could imagine them cruising top-down in the Hollywood hills.

They might be from Dublin, but they sound even more LA than bands from LA. Their heart-on-their-sleeves, no-nonsense guitar music has been machine-tooled to appeal to the widest possible demographic, and it can't have been all that surprising when their self-titled debut topped the UK album chart and was a huge seller here.

This follow-up will surely enjoy similar success. The meat-and-two-vegetables rock and earnest vocals of the first album is deployed again, and Danny O'Donoghue's talent for hooks is as sharp as before. Yet, the effect is superficial -- few of the songs have staying power. And the widescreen production -- the sort one might expect on a Killers album -- can't paper over the fact that most of the songs are weak.

Lead single For the First Time is typical of what to expect -- stirring guitars, a quiet-loud dynamic, prosaic lyrics and heartfelt singing. It's perfectly fine, but not the sort of song to inspire devotion. Incidentally, no expense has been spared for the video to accompany the single, which features the acting talents of Eve Hewson, aka Bono's daughter.

The perilous financial position the country finds itself in has provided inspiration for O'Donoghue and he alludes to job losses, straitened living and lengthening dole queues. It is quite at odds with the sunny, West Coast sound offered but at least it demonstrates that the band are keen to tackle some weighty issues.

Despite this, it is hard to escape the notion that The Script are a lightweight band, ploughing a furrow down the middle of the road. Two songs, Deadman Walking and Exit Wounds, suggest the trio may have more tricks in their armoury, but their reluctance to emerge from their comfort zone is their undoing.

Burn it: Exit Wounds

Irish Independent

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