In case you may have missed it, the Script are among the "biggest, best-loved bands in the world". As is heavily implied, #3 is the Dublin group's third studio album. The trio's official online biography goes on to declare that #3 in fact celebrates "the power of three" and provides "music for the head, heart and feet". Yes, #3 retains the characteristic chart-friendly sheen of 2010's Science & Faith, and no, it was never going to be a game-changer. By now, we too know the script: these purveyors of R&B-infused pop-rock have surely delivered the latest chapter in the ongoing commercial success they openly court.
Replete with sing-along chorus, opener 'Good Ol' Days' is sufficiently rousing, targeted as it is at the heart and feet, if not the head. The Midas touch of guest vocalist will.i.am is a worthy addition to lead single 'Hall of Fame', an uplifting slice of anthemic pop-by-numbers. Such tracks set the tone for the earnest radio-friendly fare which follows. Hearts are also catered for by piano-led / string-backed ballads 'Six Degrees of Separation' and the painfully personal 'If You Could See Me Now', addressing traumatic break-ups and the loss of parents respectively. Meanwhile, the soaring 'Broken Arrow' constitutes an effective acoustic pop number. Influences are boldly worn on sleeve throughout, from the Police-channelling defiance of 'Glowing', to the U2/Madonna 'Ray of Light' hybrid that is 'Kaleidoscope'. Elsewhere, strains of Coldplay and Take That are equally identifiable, while fans of American pop-rock (Maroon 5, the Fray) and recent soulful hip-hop (Plan B) should find #3 to be to their taste. On this outing, it appears the Script have further incorporated those urban and pop sensibilities, and they rarely seek to deviate too far from an established template.
The Script will continue to endure their share of derision at the hands of cynical critics, but one cannot blindly fault the positive sentiments and commendable exhortations to embrace the moment which run through the album. The Script take themselves rather seriously, and while accusations of being insipid, overwrought or simplistic in outlook may not be completely without foundation, #3 remains entirely listenable. Even if this occasionally bombastic effort is never as edgy or weighty as Danny O'Donoghue (vocalist, chief songwriter and recent coach on BBC's the Voice) might wish it to be, the Script's latest concoction of Americanised mainstream pop and R&B has its place, just managing to avoid outstaying its welcome.
Head, heart and feet, the Script bandwagon rolls on.
Review by Killian Barry