Roses, the long-awaited new studio album from Irish alt-rock band The Cranberries [http://www.cranberries.com/], marks the band’s first studio album in a decade, and the first since they took a six-year hiatus so bandmates could work on their solo careers.
First impressions of the record: Meh.
Don’t get me wrong—Roses is a good record, and certainly existing Cranberries fans should love it. The opening tracks “Conduct” and “Tomorrow” are probably the strongest on the record, and the more intense “Schizophrenic Playboy” adds a bit of momentum in the middle. The production value is excellent, and Delores O’Riordan’s Celtic-tinged vocals are as memorable as ever.
So what’s the problem? Perhaps it’s that after 10 years of waiting, we were hoping for a bit more…something. A change of direction. A monumental breakthrough. A reinvention of sorts. Growth.
We basically get none of that on Roses. This record pretty much picks up where the band left off, and treads the familiar mellow-rock ground of albums past. The only real difference is the overall sound has matured a bit, because the bandmates are 10 years older.
Maybe I’m talking out both sides of my mouth. Aren’t maturing and growth the same thing? Not necessarily. Artistic growth isn’t the same as getting older. Growth involves pushing the envelope, striving to evolve, even making a few mistakes along the way. Maturing is basically settling down into a comfort zone.
That’s what we have here with The Cranberries: a settling. It feels like in the decade since we heard anything new from the band, they haven’t really broken new ground, they haven’t really grown; they just got older. They’ve gotten comfortable with their sound, and they’ve settled into it. Die-hard Cranberries fans probably won’t have a problem with that, and the album will likely chart well. I guess I was just hoping for something more from this record, not just more of the same.
RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)