The Cranberries – Roses
The Cranberries’ new studio album Roses picks up where their 2001 album Wake Up And Smell The Coffee left off. Executed with lightning-paced transcendence and blooming with immaculate embellishments, Roses is an interesting and occasionally brilliant album.
Album opener Conduct is a thesaurus for anyone stuck on words for ‘sadness’. Dolores O’Riordan’s silky, lilting vocals tell you a hundred alternatives, while arresting melodies unravel heartbreak and loss on every level. It’s knowingly clichéd, yet wonderfully despondent. It’s not entirely dreary – Conduct is illuminated by intricately upbeat orchestration. Bursts of classic pop and bellowing choruses are a novel handling of heartache.
The Cranberries have the ability to sound panoramic yet catchy, as pocket-sized stadium anthem Tomorrow demonstrates. Riffs are neatly picked amidst the gorgeous focal point of entwined vocals, and not once does it seem contrived or boring. Tomorrow exposes every inch of The Cranberries’ brilliance.
However, Roses fails to maintain this standard. Schizophrenic Playboy teams try-hard rhyming lyrics with droning forgettable melodies, making the track a gruelling listen. There are a few moments of intelligent musicianship – surprises in cadence and interesting chord progressions – but the questionable lyrics and repetition of ideas all cluster together to form utter tedium. But this is a small complaint in the face of an otherwise impressively-crafted album.
Title track Roses is intense and brooding. O’Riordan’s forlorn vocals grow ever more enchanting. Its plaintive hook drifts gently like leaves in a breeze, while the band channels a sumptuous sense of elegiac elegance underneath. It shimmers against the earlier abrasive and more powerful tracks on the album, creating a mesmeric listening experience.
With rumbling drums and beams of delightful vocal melody, Roses is a bittersweet and effortless album with a myriad of aspects to explore.
Standout track: Conduct
Listen to lead single Tomorrow here: