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Music Review

The Script: 'The Script'

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The Script: 'The Script'
Released on Monday, Aug 11 2008

A lot of people are going to hate The Script. The Dublin trio have been all over the radio lately with 'We Cry' and 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved', the kind of MOR pop hits that work their way inside your head even if you don't want them to: much as they seem unthreatening on the surface, they're actually pretty deadly - like a pensioner collecting for the Lifeboats. The Script's official biography describes them as purveyors of "Celtic soul" with a "U2 meets Timbaland" sound, but that's really quite misleading. More obvious reference points would be Maroon 5, OneRepublic and, at a push, Coldplay.

The band's unique selling point is that two of their members, singer Danny O'Donaghue and multi-instrumentalist Mark Sheehan, served a money-can't-buy apprenticeship in LA, where they learned their craft from the crème de la crème of today's R&B producers: Dallas Austin, The Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins. That influence doesn't really come through in their music, save for a few semi-rapped vocals and some surprisingly funky drumming, but there's no denying that The Script are now consummate professionals. This debut album, almost entirely self-written and produced, is confident, polished and often devastatingly effective - not least because O'Donaghue is such a keen storyteller.

Debut single 'We Cry', which drew parallels between a teenage mum, a thwarted career woman and a drug-addled musician, had suggested he might fancy himself as a bit of social commentator. But actually many of these songs tread similar lyrical ground to current single 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved', which finds O'Donaghue trying to win back a former lover. For much of the album he's either struggling to keep the flame alive ('Talk You Down', 'Before The Worst') or struggling to accept that it's been extinguished ('Break Even', 'If You See Kay'). When his straightforward, relatable lyrics are married to big, radio-friendly choruses - as they more often than not are - The Script sound unstoppable.

In fact, this album features just two misfires: 'Rusty Halo', a pointless Police homage, and 'I'm Yours', a ballad so bland and drippy it could be an old Ronan Keating single. 'I'm Yours' even features a contender for most cringe-inducing pop couplet of the year: "You wrap your thoughts in works of art, and they're hanging on the walls of my heart." Bleugh. The occasional lapse in taste aside, this is an accomplished, melodic but not terribly exciting album that's got a few radio hits left in it yet. A lot of people are going to love The Script.

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