“We are doing in the past two years what some other bands spent a lifetime to do. The first album went to number one in the U.K. and the U.S., and now the second one hit number one in the U.K.
“Having number one albums is certainly a highlight. Supporting Paul McCartney in New York and U2 in our home turf was a highlight as well. Those gigs were unreal.”
That’s how lead singer Danny O’Donoghue from the Script described the year of mind-boggling success the band had when he sat down for an interview with us before the Christmas break.
In fact, the only fly in the ointment was when American Idol Kris Allen knocked them off the charts with his hit “Live Like We’re Dying.”
No! Wait a minute! The Script wrote that song, too! Never mind!
The sophomore slump is one of the oldest cliches in the music business, and there would be a better than even chance that the Script might be a flash in the pan instead of the “next big thing.”
Betting against Science and Faith, the new CD, would be a mistake because the band has done what few have ever done -- they made an album that is both worthy of their hype and better than the first album that brought on the fame in the first place.
The album, which hits stores and online outlets this week, begins with “You Won’t Feel a Thing,” an exuberant rocker that hints at the tough core that lurks underneath the pretty faces of O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power.
“For the First Time” follows the script of a typical Script hit sonically, but the lyrics go deeper quickly. Is this just another love song, or is the band describing what it was like to return home from Ireland after a wildly successful year that saw their country fall into a deep financial hole at the same time?
“I’m drinking Jack all alone in my local bar and we don’t know how we got into this mad situation,” O’Donoghue sings after acknowledging that he’s “smiling, but we’re close to tears even after all these years.”
“One day I heard Stevie Wonder singing and the hairs on the back of my neck went up," says O’Donoghue in the band’s press release.
"I didn't even know people could sing like that, I'd never heard the acrobatics of it before. I'd try and emulate all those records, even down to string arrangements. Some of the best singers have emulated a musical instrument -- Amy Winehouse is a saxophone -- but the violin is the one for me, the vibrato, you can bring so much heartfelt emotion in."
All of that practice as a teen paid off. One of the most distinctive things about the Script is the flawless voice of O’Donoghue and the blend of soul and heartbreak he effortlessly achieves.
“Am I better off dead or am I better off a quitter? They tell me a few drinks will help me forget her, but after one too many I know I’ll never,” he sings as the band slowly builds a sonic riff that calls to mind U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
There are plenty of hits on this album, but some of the better songs will probably never make it onto the airwaves. “Dead Man Walking” has heavenly orchestral swirls that reveal the depth and brilliant intersection of songwriting and production.
“We didn’t think of anything about pressure of a second album,” O’Donoghue said during our interview. “We put the kettle on and started to think about what we wanted to do next.
“The difficult album was really the first one -- what sound do you want? What do we want the band to be? On the second one, you can build based on what you know what works and what doesn’t. It took us four months to write the second album, which is a testament to our confidence as a band.”
When you are this good, that kind of testament to confidence is not boastful. Science and Faith guarantees another year of well-deserved success from a band committed to dominating the world.
The Script just announced plans to tour the U.S. this May that include a stop in Central Park on June 24. The band are active Twitterers and Facebookers, so make sure you log onto www.thescriptmusic.com for regular updates and to hear songs from the new album.