The Script…they’re somewhere between a boy band and a serious group of singer/songwriters. Imagine OneDirection if they were allowed to drink, cuss, and smoke. Or OneRepublic if Ryan Tedder actually had a personality. Are there any bands with One in their name that I can compare them to? Influenced by hip-hop and modern R&B, the trio (led by singer Daniel O’ Donoghue) spits their lines out like an Irish R. Kelly or Beyonce. Their songs are melodic and anthemic, and the hookiness of their music complements their lyrical sense (more meaty than the average pop group) quite well.

It’s actually been two years since the trio released their second album, Science & Faith-which kinda surprises me, because it hardly seems like they’ve even been around for two years. Shit-it’s been four years since the guys first washed onto these shores. At any rate, #3 (yeah, that’s the title) is in stores and online, and it sounds like one would expect a Script album to sound like. There’s no reinventing the wheel, although in this case that isn’t a bad thing. Their subject matter is pretty shopworn-but written and sung well enough to be enjoyable. Whether reminiscing about times past (“Good Ol’ Days,”) reflecting on the loss of a parent (“If You Could See Me Now,”) or collaborating with will.i.am in a way that doesn’t make me want to kill someone on first single “Hall of Fame” (a feat in and of iteself,) the guys are still delivering quality pop/rock with a hip-hop edge.

That’s not to say there’s no experimentation on #3. The fellas stretch their sound ever so slightly, and their experiments have a bit of merit. “Give The Love Around” is an up-with-people song that surprisingly doesn’t suck (I mean, it’s hokey. But it doesn’t suck.) “Broken Arrow” features actual rapping (as opposed to speed-singing) and is surprisingly unembarrassing. However, the album’s biggest surprise is “Kaleidoscope,” which finds the guys doing their best U2 impression and pulling it off. The vocals are Bono-esque, the guitars are Edge-esque, and the song sounds better than anything on No Line On The Horizon. Must be something in the water out in Dublin.

If early Maroon 5 offered a white dude’s take on classic soul mixed with rock flavor, The Script updates that sound for the modern day. O’ Donoghue is much more soulful than Adam Levine, he’s a better lyricist, and there’s the sense that the trio is capable of dipping their collective toe in unusual musical waters successfully. Each album The Script has put out has been a slight improvement on the one before it, and #3 is good enough that I feel like they’re poised to put out an album that will be so good it surprises everyone!

Grade: B

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