Review Summary: Meaningless drivel.
A couple of weeks back now while tacking security tags onto clothing, fate ordained that I'd get to hear a track from The Script's upcoming album, live in the radio station's studio, along with 'The Man That Can't Be Moved' which, despite being as misguidedly romantic as a song about emotional manipulation can be, is actually a pretty decent pop song in retrospect. To hear their music in a live, somewhat stripped-down setting was nice and reminded me that behind the plethora of studio techniques used to reduce the salvageable remains of their previous two-or-three offerings (of which there were not many, granted) to inane pap, there was a band
here that had grown together, success be damned. During the PR slot they talked about the fact that the previous two years had been hard on all the band, dealing with death and the demands of touring, which prompted them to take a step back and breathe some air, and that stepping back into the studio they'd produced some of their best work to date. I absolutely do not doubt the first point – the death of a parent is something that will come to most of us and I cannot wish on anyone, and I also believe that time spent away on tour comes with its own swathe of difficulties.
The second point is an absolute flagrant lie.
If you were hoping for even a slight hope of interesting songwriting then opener 'Something Unreal' will quash that lurid fantasy in almost record time, as the same boring piano intro you've heard a billion times ever since the time that Coldplay started giving up. From here, it's the usual mixture of 'soulful' acoustic guitar, piano and the overwhelming crests-and-falls of EDM's least exciting cesspools which, in effect, makes focusing on Sunsets and Full Moons'
musical credentials meaningless – you know what you're getting, and it's not good.
Worth focusing on more, however, is that Danny O'Donaghue's lyricism continues to take a nosedive, as time-and-time again he falls into safe rhymes and trite topics such as 'breaking up', 'self-empowerment', 'friendship' and 'the good old days'. Long gone are the occasions where you feel there was a chance his lyrics actually meant
something – the messages here feel more like they were picked out of a lucky-dip bag labelled 'songs what done worked before'. The sole bastion of hope one can take from Sunsets & Full Moons'
early stages is that Danny has finally dropped the excruciating ill-fitting 'raps' which have been a plague across their discography; alas, 'Hurt People Hurt People' takes away that dream five tracks in, with a bridge about causation of bullying or disparity or something:-
Some born with a blessing, some born with a curse
Some have it better, yeah, some have it worse
Some are thinking forward but they have it in reverse
No matter how bad it gets, it can always get worse
This kind of vague, righteous ambling is prevalent in almost every single line on Sunsets & Full Moons
but comes to an ugly head during 'Underdog', which is arguably one of the laziest, most aggravatingly vapid attempts at appealing to the 'underdog' mentality which could probably be applied to almost anyone who has ever worked under someone or been not quite as good at something as someone else. Furthermore, it's a clear watering-down of 'Hall of Fame' in both topic and style, 'Hall of Fame' a previous candidate for being quite genuinely the laziest, most aggravatingly vapid attempt at appealing to... you get it.
Sunsets & Full Moons
makes me sad, more than anything. I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of The Script (I disliked them intensely
when they first burst onto 'the scene' as it were) but the fact is, I can sing along with 'Breakeven' or 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved', realise they're pretty well-written pop songs, and most importantly actually feel that The Script are a band
with genuine, direct emotions that they can transmit through music. By the time you hit the 25-minute mark during penultimate offering 'The Hurt Game' (owner of a bridge which sounds crudely lifted from Robbie Williams' 'Millennium' and repackaged), the sad realisation kicks in that nothing has stuck. Nothing feels sincere, or memorable, or like it's anything else but Danny hiring ready-made backing tracks from a guy that produces adverts in his spare time and singing over the top. There's nothing inherently wrong with sounding commercial – musicians have gotta eat too, after all – but Sunsets & Full Moons
is just lazy and predictable from a band that we know have done better. Sadly, I doubt they can do 'better' any more.