With Science and Faith
, gentle rockers The Script continue to cook candy-cane rock with a fresh batch of single-idea songs that reverberate well with the teenage girl crowd. Not much has changed since 2008's self titled debut, aesthetically or otherwise. But despite simplicity and a mostly made-for-TV view of both love and loss, the optimistic hooks and sap-laden bedside chatter is much more enjoyable than a significant amount of today's popular music. Well-written, hummable, and tightly produced, The Script are the epitome of what modern pop rock should be; less hand-holding Jonas Brothers drivel and more talks of whiskey, loneliness and arguments (however watered down for terrestrial radio those vignettes might be). You can knock the content as too PG for Best Drama contention and too risky for Disney, but the music world isn't a Loews Cineplex. If Jason Derulo is the salted Spam of pop music, these guys are the steak. They're real, textured, and universally consumable.
The band writes great pop tunes. In a generation of stale, auto-tuned forgettables, The Script make fresh hits. Perhaps their best work, their old single "Break Even" still maintains a regular spot on my personal song rotation, just for it's sheer brilliance in melodic contour and concept ("when a heart breaks, no it don't break even", a really nifty and clever take on the tired expression, not to mention a really sticky hook). That doesn't mean their work is always inventive lyrically, but it hits home enough to keep your attention through harmonies or observations. Enter "For The First Time", an exploration of the revitalization of a troubled relationship. I challenge you to remove all the melody of this song from your head after listening to it a few times. The main refrain ("for the first time") isn't as instantly rewarding as "Break Even", but several of the observations hold their own simple charms ("cheap bottles of wine", "smiling but we're close to tears"), painting a pretty comprehensive picture of the target mood. Really great stuff.
Albums often have lows, and Science and Faith
is no different. A few of the less memorable tracks blend together after they've left your ears; it might even just be an unfortunate byproduct of the genre. But standouts like "Walk Away" and "Nothing" provide enough pop-umami to make any hook-hungry tongues water. The Script are a dying breed, a radio band that can actually write and execute a handful of epic, universally affecting songs. Sing along while you still can.
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MP3: "For The First Time"
The Script on Myspace