Tuesday 22 October 2019

Music review: OneRepublic

The Olympia, Dublin

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder received his big break on an MTV talent show, but he is extremely eager to prove that he is for real. If anything, perhaps he's a little too keen.

The pop rock band from Colorado Springs possess the catch-all appeal and wholesome good looks of a boy band wrapped up in the bombast of U2 and Coldplay. Rarely has such an elaborate stage set been crammed into the Olympia, which tends to cater for acts with slightly more modest ambitions and production budgets than the arena-headlining elite.

But OneRepublic (pictured right) have brought along all their bells and whistles, including a shiny drum riser, lots of glitter and glam and the kind of lighting rig that the likes of Robbie Williams would be proud of.

Tedder and his OneRepublic cohorts occupy a strange position. They're infectiously catchy, receiving heavy radio rotation while admittedly being rather talented. 'Apologize' was a number one hit in 16 countries across the world thanks to the Midas touch of the renowned hit producer Timbaland. But in their over-earnest zeal to be taken very seriously, their music ends up sounding forced and somewhat hollow.

Ryan Tedder sings like your typical talent-show hopeful, but with the lofty ambitions of becoming Bono or Chris Martin, which can make for excruciating listening.

'Life in Colour' sees his histrionic warbling reach newfound heights, and it's not particularly pretty. What's more, he tops it off with the patronising clanger: "Life in colour, Dublin is like no other," which is the kind of tripe that nearly makes your typical boy band couplet seem as profound as Leonard Cohen.

On the plus side, OneRepublic are at their most effective when Tedder and his hat are seated at a piano. Bass guitarist Brent Kutzle also doubles up as an electric cello player, which both looks and sounds good.

They cheekily pinch the synth riff from 'Midnight City' by M83, which easily is one of the finest electronic pop songs of recent years, but rather than do anything interesting with this source material, it merely appears to be thrown in there for token effect.

The finale is a show-stealing confetti-strewn version of 'If I Lose Myself' complete with all band members coming to the front of the stage to dramatically pound some very large drums.

It's a rather fine swansong for the Coloradans to sign off on. But, if the dubious prospect of an act who combine the pop charm of Olly Murs with the melodrama of U2 and Coldplay happen to be up your street, you'll probably find OneRepublic irresistible.

Irish Independent

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