Entertainment Music

Saturday 21 April 2018

POP

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

O2, Dublin

The Script can pack out Ireland's largest venue for three nights in a row, but they still remain a curiously divisive band.

When they were nominated for the Choice Music Prize in 2008 for their eponymous debut album, many commentators were aghast.

A pervading attitude of 'how dare they' raised its ugly head, as if pop music simply wasn't welcome to the party.

A few million album sales under the bridge later and the nagging Doubting Thomases haven't gone away.

Even if they won 10 Grammys and found a cure for cancer, they'd still be viewed with some suspicion.

Bickering

What such petty bickering completely ignores is their unique ability to create haunting and intelligent pop.

Often their songs are laden with very stark and bleak lyrics, but they can transform them into empowering anthems for a generation weaned on boybands.

The opening line of 'Breakeven' is, "I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing."

There is destitution, death, unemployment, separation and the entire gamut of life's trials and tribulations to be found here, but they do something quite extraordinary.

Rather than bask in the limelight, The Script appear incredibly driven to include their fans, shooting a magazine cover with the audience as a euphoric backdrop 'If You Could See Me Now' is a tribute to Danny O'Donoghue's (inset) late father and Mark Sheehan's mother, who both died while they were making their first album.

Sheehan once said that he couldn't picture playing it live, but they put in a valiant effort. Described as 'emotional therapy' and 'a page from my diary where I can't tell if it's a good song or not', it is admittedly not one of their best songs, but its lyrics about looking for their late parents in the crowd are pertinent and extremely moving.

Perfect

'For the First Time' perfectly closes the main set, a tender song about reconnecting with friends and family over late-night conversations and drinking cheap bottles of wine.

They encore with their UK number one single 'Hall of Fame'.

Even though Will.i.am isn't present and correct to add his quirky raps, it sounds fresher and more direct.

The Script mightn't be the coolest band on the block, but it would be the height of foolishness and musical snobbery to dismiss their motivational power.

Not to look behind the glossy production is to miss the point.

When it comes to delivering motivational pop that comforts and inspires, this Dublin trio are out on their own.

Irish Independent

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