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The Script

Sounding at first as if they’d been listening to too much COLDPLAY, The POLICE and U2 recordings in a quest to rise above the X-Factor-fixated pop music biz, Irish trio The SCRIPT soon slipped into something akin to their nation’s answer to MAROON 5 or TRAIN. And with a raft of global hit singles under their belts, and five out of six UK No.1 sets that could be best described as a “cod hip-hop WESTLIFE with instruments”, the group answered their plethora of critics in spades.
Formed in Dublin in 2007, soaring singer Danny O’Donoghue and guitarist Mark Sheehan were previously straight outta Mytown, a boy-band who seemed always on the fringes of a breakthrough. The pair opted instead to spend several years as producers in Los Angeles (working alongside The Neptunes, Teddy Riley and Rodney Jerkins), before returning to Dublin, where they hooked up with drummer Glen Power.
After signing to the R.C.A.-endorsed Phonogenic Records and on the strength of multi-spins from Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley (among many others) for their debut hit-to-be single, `We Cry’, the lads relocated to London in order to promote their next effort, the near chart-topping `The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’. Their eponymous Andrew Frampton & Steve Kipper-produced THE SCRIPT (2008) {*6} album went straight to the top in both Ireland and Britain, and when released in America the following March, secured a promising Top 75 place. Meanwhile, back over the Big Pond, the soulful `Breakeven’ and the thought-provoking `Talk You Down’ (about a fictional friend’s near suicide), both became moderate UK hits.
2010’s formulaic rock/pop sophomore set, SCIENCE & FAITH {*6}, was a mighty big scene stealer in America when, in early 2011, it almost mimicked its chart-topping UK carbon. Radio-friendly big ticket items, `For The First Time’ and `Nothing’ (recalling SNOW PATROL, COLDPLAY or U2), were the obvious targets for critics who were indeed Marmite-ly swayed by the trio’s heartfelt or lush ballad approach.
By album #3 (2012) {*5}, songs were worryingly idolatry to perfection, though with added light rap motif on the explicit `Six Degrees Of Separation’ and `If You Could See Me Now’ hits, maybe the mums and dads of impressionable teenagers “into” The Script were now reluctant of their approval, of which was down to just basic commercial pop. If further evidence was needed then the trio’s team up with WILL.I.AM on chart champion, `Hall Of Fame’, captured hearts and minds, if not yet, their souls. It was no coincidence that the former BLACK EYED PEAS rapper/producer sat near Danny, JESSIE J and TOM JONES as coaches/judges on the BBC’s answer to X-Factor, The Voice.
Further to the fictional exploits of Mark and Danny in author Jamie Scallion’s “The RockAteers” creation (one eponymous EP was issued in 2013), The SCRIPT prepared for their fourth album by playing live US shows in summer 2014 alongside OneRepublic. As a result, the UK chart-topping NO SOUND WITHOUT SILENCE {*6} cracked the American Top 10. Easing away from the R&B agenda of their previous effort, the trio tried their damndest to find some Celtic roots in hit single fodder, `It’s Not Right For You’, `Superheroes’ and `No Good In Goodbye’, whereas they were better suited to shine on `Flares’, a light power-ballad penned with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder.
Both 2017’s FREEDOM CHILD {*4} and 2019’s SUNSETS & FULL MOONS {*4} were strictly for hook line and sinker perky pop purists, who loved their corporate vibes riveted to the ears on a journey to and from equally boring white-collar jobs. Among other non-chart duds like `Arms Open’, `Written In The Scars’ and `Something Unreal’, the annoyingly wet-around-the-ears `Rain’, `The Last Time’ and rare US smash hit, `Same Time’, had enough curious downloaders to secure moderate chart positions.
© MC Strong/MCS Nov2019

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