The Script

Sunsets & Full Moons

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On past albums, Ireland's chart-topping trio the Script have balanced excessively likeable emotive pop/rock with flourishes of everything from yearning R&B to indie folk. On their sixth album, 2019's Sunsets & Full Moons, they offer a fresh collection of reflective, studio-polished songs that largely stick to the pop end of the spectrum. There is definitely a slightly moodier tone here, most likely informed by the loss of lead singer Danny O'Donoghue's mother, who died eight months before the album's release, informing the album’s tone in much the same way that the death of O'Donoghue's father affected the band's 2008 self-titled debut. While these losses and their perhaps painful synchronicity don't appear directly in the content of the album, they do leave a sort of pall over the record, though that's a relative statement when it comes to a group whose brand is so doggedly upbeat and relatable. Songs on Sunsets & Full Moons like the wistful "Last Time" and acoustic-guitar driven "Run Through Walls" are nothing if not accessible, professing sensitive, laddish emotion in a musical language of proven universal appeal. They're moving but not intrusive, confessional but not particularly intimate, like the distant cousins of hits by Imagine Dragons (whose gigantic stadium timbre the Script borrow for their crowd-friendly singalong "Underdog"). The melodies are pleasantly propulsive and the themes are aggressively straightforward. For example, O'Donoghue turns memories of a toxic relationship into an emotive, Elton John-style ballad on "The Hurt Game" and wonders if his obsession with his ex is mutual on "Same Time." Given O'Donoghue's warm vocals and knack for spotlighting the poignant details of heartache, you kind of wish (as always) that the music was a bit more distinctive and less akin to practically all other mainstream pop. Still, there's an earnestness to the Script's soft-focus anthems. They may not be great innovators, but the Script have heart, and there are far worse ways to be likeable.

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