The Cranberries stumbled with their move toward heavier, politically fueled modern rock on To the Faithful Departed, losing fans enamored with their earlier sound. Like many groups who see their stardom fading, the band decided to return after a short hiatus with a mildly updated, immaculately constructed distillation of everything that earned them an audience in the first place. It's immediately apparent that Bury the Hatchet: The Complete Sessions 1998-1999 has retreated from the ludicrous posturing that marred To the Faithful. There are no blasts of distorted guitar -- as a matter of fact, there are no songs that even qualify as "rockers" -- and there is little preaching, even on Dolores O'Riordan's most earnest songs. Every note and gesture is pitched at the adult alternative mainstream, which is a good thing. Though they ran away from the dreamy jangle of their first hits, the Cranberries never sounded more convincing than on mid-tempo, folky pop tunes with polished productions. Sonically, that's precisely what Bury the Hatchet delivers, complete with little flourishes -- a Bacharach-ian horn chart there, cinematic strings there -- to illustrate that the band did indeed know what was hip in the late '90s. All this planning -- some might call it calculation -- shouldn't come as a surprise, since Bury the Hatchet is essentially a make-or-break album, but what is a surprise is that the end result is the most consistent record of their career. It's not necessarily their best -- it lacks the immediate singles of their first two records -- but all the songs work together to form a whole; not even embarrassments like the skittering "Copycat" interrupt the flow of the record. True, the album never challenges listeners, but it delivers on their expectations -- and after To the Faithful Departed, that comes as a relief. [Bury the Hatchet: The Complete Sessions adds six tracks: "Sorry Son," "Baby Blues," "Sweetest Thing," "Woman Without Pride," "Such a Shame," and "Paparazzi on Mopeds."]
Performance CreditsCranberries Primary Artist
Mike Hogan Bass Guitar
Noel Hogan Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Fergal Lawler Percussion,Drums
Technical CreditsCranberries Producer
Benedict Tobias Fenner Producer,Engineer
Jon Crossland Graphic Design,Illustrations
Storm Thorgerson Cover Design
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Bury the Hatchet based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Ireland has a long, rich history of spawning cantankerously idiosyncratic rock stars. Gavin Friday. Sinéad O¿Connor. Shane MacGowan (England-borne, but bears his Irish ancestry like a stout-soused shamrock badge). Hell, even U2, at their propulsively slinky best, have an ¿Edge¿ to them. And then there are the Cranberries. The three lads and a lass from Limerick have been manufacturing dependable, solidly melodic pop since 1993¿s multi-platinum Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can¿t We. Of course, dependability has its detriments ¿ the most damning of which is its tendency to repress the sort of spontaneous surprises and unmannered accidents that can elevate ephemeral fluff to lasting, classic status. The title of their fourth album, Bury the Hatchet, may or may not reflect the Cranberries¿ determination to cast 1996¿s For the Faithful Departed¿s spectacularly shallow stabs at social consciousness into the abyss of the forever unrecoverable. Abandoning its ill-suited illusions of grandeur, the band gets back to doing what it has always done best: crafting three-and-a-half minute hook-driven ditties with all the lyrical significance of a child¿s knackered nursery rhyme (¿Ra la la la la¿/¿Eh-ee-eh-ee-oh¿/¿Ma-na-na-na-na¿, indeed). Alas, radio-friendly singles ¿Animal Instinct¿ and ¿Just My Imagination¿ are not quite up to the stuff of ¿Linger¿ and ¿Dreams¿ ¿ the former running desperately short of petrol with its endlessly repetitive outro; the latter just a smidge too suggestive of 10,000 Maniacs covering Sixpence None the Richer covering New Order. Which is to say: a palatable pastiche, but pastiche all the same. On the album¿s two token attempts to crank up the amperage (¿Promises,¿ ¿Delilah¿), singer Dolores O¿Riordan comes off more ¿de-clawed kitten¿ than ¿ticked-off tigress¿ ¿ more pretty purr than raucous roar. And while there is little doubt the woman possesses a very pleasant set of pipes, must those pipes be multi-tracked in the same unimaginative ways on every bloody number? In the final analysis, Bury the Hatchet, like the bulk of the Cranberries¿ canon, is simply too timid and smoothly produced to make any kind of lasting impact. No friction: no heat. Not near enough tartness to temper the sweet. Where¿s that rotter MacGowan when you need him?