Release Date: Feb 28, 2012
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Celtic Rock
The Cranberries' fusion of the Smiths and Sinéad O'Connor was weirdly fetching when it drifted out of Ireland in the early 1990s, but the band grew bombastic as sales skyrocketed. So it's a relief that the group's comeback LP brims with Celt-tinged dream pop, as Dolores O'Riordan's broad singing melts into cardigan-cozy jangle. There are lyrical uh-oh moments ("Schizophrenic Playboy"), but Roses reminds us that note-hammering Brits from Adele to Florence owe Dolly a small debt.
First off, a little back-story on the sixth Cranberries’ album and their first since 2001’s Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: after their 2002 greatest hits tour, the band reconvened in the studio with their longtime producer, Stephen Street and proceeded to begin work on some new material. After a few months work, they decided to take a break to pursue separate projects. But six months turned into eight years.
Reuniting with all their original members plus original producer Stephen Street just over a decade after their swan song Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, the Cranberries recapture the sound of their earliest records on 2012's Roses. Nearly 20 years have passed since their breakthrough Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We?, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are some signs of age on Roses, notably in an increased sense of professionalism in the band's craft and also in a slight stripping of the ethereal echo that gave their debut an appealing floating quality. Without this dreaminess, the Cranberries are merely pretty, but unlike the turgidly ambitious Bury the Hatchet and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee -- or on Dolores O'Riordan's pair of perfectly fine solo albums -- Roses has definition and momentum, momentum that doesn't derive from artificially enhanced electric guitars, either.
Although it’s been more than 10 years since The Cranberries’ last studio album, the band’s 2012 crop, Roses, simply picks up the melodic strains of yesteryear and carries on. The reformed quartet continues to showcase the distinctive Gaelic lilt of vocalist Dolores O’Riordan over chiming guitars, silken strings, and military rhythms. With longstanding producer Stephen Street at the helm, the overall effect is pretty seamless.
More than a decade after their last release, the Cranberries return to dust off their familiar sound, anchored as always by Dolores O’Riordan’s glorious Gaelic pipes. Despite some evocative melodies, there’s nothing here with a hook to match the meat of ’90s classics like ”Linger” and ”Zombie,” and too many of the repetitive lyrics clunk harder than a rhyming dictionary thrown against a wall. Stalwart fans may swoon, but Roses, like its title track, just kinda wilts.
For their first studio album in over a decade, The Cranberries pick up exactly where they left off with 2001’s Wake Up And Smell The Coffee. Which is to say, looking directly back towards the successes of the Irish quartet’s first two full-lengths. On Coffee, they stripped away the rockier and spacier elements that muddied up mid-period efforts and returned the lilting pop that garnered their best critical notices and chart successes.