Following a brief hiatus, pop band The Script’s fifth effort Freedom Child shows a band running out of ideas.
Opener No Man is an Island signals a shift in their style, as frontman Danny O’Donoghue delivers in the style of Sting, while the music centres around an electro reggae beat. It’s a little clumsy, but it’s differs from everything else on the radio. As Rain kicks in, the band go full-on reggaeton, as if Jason Mraz had a stadium-filling band behind him.
While neither of these songs are particularly strong, it goes south from here. Arms Open sounds like George Ezra fronting You Me At Six, while O’Donoghue’s lyrics haven’t moved on in over a decade, as he continues to sing vague lyrics about failing relationships.
Elsewhere, Rock The World, Make Up and Written in the Scars sound so dated that they could have been on their first album. The worst moments, however, come in Wonders and Love Not Lovers, where O’Donoghue ironically sings “Where are we going? What are we doing?” as the instrumentals make it a matter of will power to see them through to the end.
Divided States of America shows the band trying to make some epic political statement, but with no profound insight or opinion. In fact, the only good songs are Deliverance, and closer Freedom Child, both of which have interesting rhythms and a more playful, infectious vibe.
Freedom Child could have seen The Script rise above as a progressive pop act, but they’ve ended up with another safe, bland album.