It’s been two years since their last studio album #3, but The Script are finally back. The Irish rockers have been busy touring and promoting all over the world, while lead singer Danny O’Donoghue also lent his judging abilities in two seasons of the UK’s The Voice. Needless to say The Script have been a busy bunch, and we’re scratching our heads as to how they’ve managed to even scrape up a fourth studio album. No Sound Without Silence, recorded aboard their tour bus, is everything you’d expect from The Script: an 11-track playlist of songs about love, heartbreak and inspiration.
You’d think in the span of their 13-year career, they’d be experts at angsty love songs and passionate lyrics. You’d think that by the stage of their fourth album, they would experiment with other themes. Well, to the delight of die-hard fans, they haven’t. The Script have played it safe this time around, as indicated by the album’s opener, No Good In Goodbye. Even by the sound of the title we can tell it’ll be a woeful song of heartache. The track kicks off with slashing electronic guitars, then straight into elevating hymn-like vocals. ‘Can’t take the ache from heartbreak’, O’Donoghue sings, over an equally inspiring piano progression. The album’s first single Superheroes is better, but it’s once again that familiar soft-rock from the Irish trio. Having recorded their album straight after doing a gig, it seems as though the band took the concert energy with them and poured it straight back into the track. You can almost see the audience waving their hands in time to the empowering lyrics, ‘everyday, every hour, turn that pain into power.’ It may be a feel-good song but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before – it just feels like Hall Of Fame V.2.
It’s a little disappointing because all the tracks follow a similar sort of formula; a worn and tired strategy to get the audience singing along. It’s Not Right For You is another song about getting back up after falling down, whilst employing The Script’s now repetitive Steps to Success: a catchy hook, inspiring phrases to shout along to, and a strong backing beat for us to pump our fists to. The same goes for the track after that; appropriately named The Energy Never Dies. And if they’re not trying to rouse an audience, then they’re singing tales of love – which is again, what The Script have a reputation for. But Never Seen Anything “Quite Like You” sounds like something out of a romantic comedy – both musically and lyrically. Flanked by sweeping strings, O’Donoghue croons that even when his girl is in jeans and no make up, she’s still ravishing. Please, spare us the clichés!
Although the album is rife with one-liners such as these, at least O’Donoghue delivers them convincingly. During his career span he’s made a distinct sound for himself, one that’s both rough and gentle at the same time. In the soft piano ballad Flares, the emotion he displays is fantastic – O’Donoghue’s voice breaks in all the right moments, and what we hear is the crooning of a broken man. Then as per procedure, a positive chorus attempts to rouse us, but it honestly isn’t so rousing anymore considering the last two tracks preceding it had already done the job. If only the band had rearranged the track-list order; Flares would have done a better job than all the other ’empowerment’ themed songs, with its soaring crescendos, added emotion and exalting hymn-like effect of the backing track. These elements are considerably more effective than the standard mid-tempo rockers on the album.
It’s not that the songs are bad. It’s just that it’s exactly you would expect from The Script – and that’s what makes it disappointing. The band haven’t taken any innovative risks with their latest offering – for instance, where’s the rapping that we heard from their last album #3? The Script are a talented and successful band but they’re running out of direction. Sticking to what they do best will only bore the rest of us.