NO NEED TO ARGUE    THE CRANBERRIES No Need to Argue (Island) The Irish foursome's sophomore effort is a modest departure from its double-platinum debut. The new set thrives on the same Celtic flourishes and pretty, rambling arrangements. But Noel Hogan's guitar barks louder and frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan often abandons ethereal waifdom for a tougher now-hear-this attitude-especially on "Zombie," a high-wattage rant about Northern Ireland. B -Jeremy Helligar (Posted: 03/25/98)


NO NEED TO ARGUE: They are as sexy as your least favourite root vegetable, they are not prone to giving good quote and Dolores O'Riordan sings as if for some peculiar ritualistic reason she has placed a selection of marbles in her mouth. There's no hidden agenda with The Cranberries - they're not even indie. It seems they can only be judged on their music . . . They most immediately striking thing about The Cranberries is O'Riordan's voice. It's a remarkable beast. In theory it's like all those Sundays, Cocteau Twins, Cranes-type voices who front bands who would never, ever make it, even if they got the next Levi's commercial. But O'Riordan controls her gifts beautifully -Òshe's placed those marbles with the utmost care. Sometimes she sounds vaguely African in the sense that her voice is often an instrument as much as Noel Hogan's guitars. At others, she virtually talks in a thick Irish accent. When she's not wailing or chatting, she simply sings and that's rather beautiful. All this of course would be pointless if O'Riordan were a lion backed by donkeys. Instead her band mates form an expert foil to her vocal shennanigans; never getting in the way; never outstaying their welcome but always doing interesting work. Again, such work would be in vain if the songs were donkeys sung and played by lions. They're not: The Cranberries write traditional but timeless songs, closer to Crowded House than House Of Love. These are tunes Shawn Colvin could cover. They have, it might be said, got the lot. Even Stephen Street's production -Òhis employment is usually a sign bands don't want to sell that many records - doesn't cramp the songs in fuzz and fog. He simply draws out the interesting bits, puts them high in the mix and ensures nothing sounds tinny or tiny. There are two ways of listening to No Need To Argue, the Limerick quartet's second album. The first and easiest way is to hear it as a splodgy whole, like an abstract painting, with its succession of fragments, swirly melodies and O'Riordan's eyebrow-raising antics. After a time though, the songs seap through: the gorgeous "de doo doo de" line which opens Ode To My Family, the playful grunge of Zombie and the orchestral touches of the lush Dreaming My Dreams. There's more. Cranberry charms emerge slowly but reliable. They are a fine group and this is a fine record. God knows what the Americans see in them.(**** out of 5)

Reviewed by John Aizlewood





NO NEED TO ARGUE: Although the first cranberries record took everyone by surprise in terms of its commercial success, No Need To Argue has much more momentum behind it, and therefore will be subjected to more intense scrutiny. Those who were beguiled and delighted by Everyone Else... will not be disappointed. The band has not changed its formula for pop success: lead singer Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals shape and define the band, their supple charm leading the simple melodies. The harmonies are molded after classic folk songs, albeit placed within a modern rock (in its literal meaning) context, the sweetness of the vocals contrasting with the ever-building swirl of guitars and rhythm section. This is best demonstrated on the first single, “Zombie,” which starts off with a heavy, fuzzy guitar but backs off, allowing O’Riordan to shine. The songs closest to the band’s breakthrough hit “Linger” are those which achieve the highest sense of poignancy, as on “Disappointment” and “Ode To My Family.”
- Megan McLaughlin: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 398 – Oct 10, 1994


Spin (11/94, pp.94-95) - Recommended - "...unlike its sub-genre contemporaries, the group could take its atmospherics and make songs out of them..."

Musician (11/94, p.86) - "...it's a fine operatic trapeze act, full of pluck and some genuine Sinead O'Connor-school acumen..."

Q Magazine (11/94, p.106) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...The Cranberries write traditional but timeless songs...Cranberry charms emerge slowly but reliably. They are a fine group and this is a fine record..."

Melody Maker (10/8/94, p.36) - Recommended - "...what is of significance is that the Cranberries have managed to negotiate this fateful journey through fame with their golden sparkle, their precious alien integrity, beautifully intact..."

Entertainment Weekly (10/7/94, p.76) - "...thrives on some Celtic flourishes and pretty, rambling arrangements...a high-wattage rant about Northern Ireland..." - Rating: B




The Cranberries: Dolores O'Riordan (vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards); Noel Hogan (electric & acoustic guitars); Mike Hogan (bass); Fergal Lawler (drums, percussion). Recorded at The Magic Shop, New York; Townhouse Studios, London, England; The Manor Studios, Oxford, England. Building off the success of their debut EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT, SO WHY CAN'T WE?, the Cranberries' second album NO NEED TO ARGUE offers more of the Cranberries' brand of lavish pop. Chock full of the haunting atmospheric vocals that propelled the Irish quartet into international stardom, NO NEED TO ARGUE continues the Cranberries' tradition of moving orchestral pop. Dolores O'Riordan's delicate acoustic arrangements, ethereal lyrics and unique phrasing find the Cranberries' sound akin to contemporary shoe gazers like The Cranes or Fronted!. It's O'Riordan's dedication to portraying life in war-torn Ireland, though, that sets her apart from her contemporaries. In the gripping "Ode To My Family," O'Riordan repeatedly asks, "does anyone care?" and the effect is devastating. "Ode To My Family" becomes a snapshot of children playing in the Belfast rubble, and NO NEED TO ARGUE is the audio accompaniment.



AMG EXPERT REVIEW: With their surprise success behind them, the Cranberries went ahead and essentially created a sequel to Everybody Else is Doing It, Why Can't We with only tiny variations, with mixed results. The fact that the album is essentially a redo of previously established stylistic ground isn't apparent in just the production, handled again by Stephen Street, or the overall sound, or even that one particularly fine song is called "Dreaming My Dreams." Everybody wasn't a laugh riot, to be sure, but No Need To Argue starts to see O'Riordan take a more commanding and unfortunately much more self-conscious role that ended up not standing the band in good stead later. Lead single "Zombie" is the worst offender in this regard — the heavy rock trudge isn't immediately suited for the band's strengths (notably, O'Riordan wrote this without Noel Hogan) — while the subject matter — the continuing Northern Ireland tensions — ends up sounding trivialized. Opening cut "Ode to My Family" is actually one of the band's best, with a lovely string arrangement created by O'Riordan, but her overdubbed vocals start showing her distinct vocal tics becoming a bit more gimmicky at the expense of the performance. Where No Need succeeds best is when the Cranberries stick at what they know, resulting in a number of charmers like "Twenty One," the unlearn pipes-touched "Daffodil's Lament," which has an epic sweep that doesn't overbear like "Zombie," and the evocative "Disappointment." — Ned Raggett (4.5 out of 5 stars)



It was a tough act to beat when Irish group The Cranberries released the follow-up to their debut disc Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We, an interesting and intimate album highlighted by the memorable hit "Linger." Critics chided that Everybody was timid in nature both musically and lyrically, but No Need to Argue quickly changed all that. The 1994-released effort was decidedly more confrontational, instantly evident by the lyrics, inspired by the Irish conflict, in their hit "Zombie." In her trademark sharp alto, frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan sings, "In your head they are fighting/With their tanks and their bombs/and their bombs and their guns." Since anger is more difficult to embrace than love, many fans were initially disappointed with the tougher stuff, but those who stayed discovered a much more emotionally layered effort. --Denise Sheppard



When a soldier goes off to war, somebody gets left behind, and that's the person the cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan sings for. The characters she inhabits in these thirteen songs are almost all passive victims: the people who are lost, abandoned, emotionally destroyed because they realize too late that they've put themselves second. ("My father liked me/Does anyone care?" she sings in the opening "Ode To My Family.") Ireland, of course, is the national equivalent of those people, and the fact that O'Riordan plays up her Irish accent (or, rather, doesn't disguise it) gives these songs an additional poignancy and political resonance. "I wanted to be the mother of your child, and now it's just farewell," she sings on "I Can't Be With You"; it's a maudlin line on its own, but the contorted vowels ("choi-ild") and cracking tones she gives it make it heartbreaking. Irish themes and ideas run through most of the album (titles include "The Icicle Melts" and "Yeats' Grave"), but the lyrics only get specific about the "Troubles" that have been going on for nearly 80 years on the album's centerpiece, the electrifying "Zombie," built on a rattling, funereal four-chord riff. No Need To Argue sticks closely to the sound and style of last year's slow-burning hit debut, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? (sometimes too closely -in places, O'Riordan's yodeling vocal signature is almost a tic), but that's a lovely sound and style, and a second helping is welcome.

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