The Baltimore Sun

The Script

The Script

[Epic] ** (2 STARS)

The Script sounds like a nice enough band, led by singer Danny O'Donoghue's pretty, malleable vocals, which are best displayed on its debut single, "The Man Who Can't Be Moved."

Unfortunately, on the Irish trio's self-titled debut, it sounds like a band that gets moved too easily, one that's been cobbled together by industry execs' suggestions and focus-group findings.

"We Cry," with its vaguely hip-hop beat and from-the-streets vibe, sounds like a response to a need to be more urban. "Rusty Halo" sounds like a discarded theme for a misguided musical about The Police, complete with "woh-ooh-woh-ohs" over spiky guitar work.

The overwhelming influence over the rest of the album, though, is The Fray, whose piano-driven "How to Save a Life" seems like the pattern The Script followed to build "Talk You Down." "Before the Worst" shares a similar sense of drama and sweepings dynamics.

The problem is that instead of building its own sound, The Script wastes its time creating a watered-down version of someone else's. That may work in the short-run, but in the end, The Script is already writing its own undoing.


Easy Come, Easy Go

Marianne Faithfull

[Decca] ****

On her latest full-length collection, Marianne Faithfull reteams with producer Hal Willner for another beautifully haunting tour of a landscape littered with the detritus of shredded hearts.

"I sit in my chair, and filled with despair, there's no one could be so sad," she sings in a funereal reading of the Duke Ellington-Eddie DeLange-Irving Mills lament "Solitude," which was a standard for Faithfull's predecessor in such existentially aching music, Billie Holiday. Willner creates an otherworldly setting blending sighing wah-wah guitar with sweetly sad clarinets, a gently plucked upright bass providing the only hint that there's a pulse still beating below the devastated surface.

The album is subtitled 12 Songs for Music Lovers, and the songs stretch across much of the 20th century, from the bordello blues of Bessie Smith's title tune (with its spectacular arrangement of piano, clarinet, trumpet and bass sax) forward to Neko Case's "Hold On, Hold On" and "Dear God Please Help Me" from Morrissey.

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