Pop Goes The Script » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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AUDIO JUNKIE:

Dublin-based Alt-Pop band The Script embraces pop fully in their latest album “Freedom Child.”

The Script (Facebook)

It’s been coming for some time now, actually. Almost a decade since The Script’s eponymous debut and “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” singer Danny O’Donoghue, guitarist Mark Sheehan, and drummer Glen Power have been slowly but steadily shifting their sound from rock to pop, most notably on their “No Sound Without Silence” set from 2014.

Now they leave their Alt-Pop leanings as they open their latest with “No Man Is An Island” – a tuneful song for sure. But the bass groove, the implied faux dancehall beat, the David Guetta-esque refrain, and those sing-along choruses (a band trademark), you know that this has more to do with the dance floor than concert halls. Ditto for the made-for-Top 40 carrier single “Written In The Scars,” which would not sound out of place on a Katy Perry record.

It’s not bad, mind you, it just says that, for The Script, pop is an easy transition. A fine example is the tuneful, Latin pop-laced “Rain.” “Rock The World” has that cheesy “the day we rocked the world” chorus but still sung in O’Donoghue’s honeyed tone. Electronic beats like those on “Mad Love,” which somehow recall The Cure’s “Close To Me,” is a charming bit from where we’re hearing it.

'Freedom Child’ album art (mb.com.ph)

‘Freedom Child’ album art

For all its sheen, The Script’s fifth album also delves into serious themes. The title track directly references terrorism and “the need for harmony.” Meanwhile “Divided States Of America” is an observation of America under Donald Trump.

If you’re a fan of the band from the beginning and are looking for those “Breakeven”-type ballads, there’s not much of that here. The closest would be “Arms Open.” It’s not like those arena-sized sing-alongs, which is par for the course for The Script, but it definitely has its moments. Hot spots from the 14 track set also include The Script/Coldplay amalgam “Love Not Lovers,” and the mid-tempo, electro-tinged title track.

Like we said, pop seems an easy fit for this Irish trio. And for a band who’s hung around as long as The Script have, it’s good to shake things up.

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