Cranberries: Dolores O'Riordan Burton (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Noel Hogan (acoustic
& electric guitars); Mike Hogan (bass); Fergal Lawler (drums, percussion).
Producers: The Cranberries, Benedict Fenner. Though Ireland's Cranberries began
by churning out sparkling, breathy rock-pop, they soon ventured into a darker,
heavier brand of rock that reflected the sociopolitical strife of their homeland.
On BURY THE HATCHET the band achieves the perfect marriage between luxurious pop
stylings and a darker, more unsettling vision. Dolores O'Riordan's strong, clear
voice rides smoothly over simple, engaging melodies fleshed out by a chiming
blend of acoustic and electric guitars for much of the album. But on songs like
"Promises," the guitars get heavier, and the mood turns darker,
showing a deeper side of the Cranberries' work. No matter the darkness expressed
in the lyrics though, the invigorating, upbeat strum and crack of the guitars
and drums keeps things moving at a good clip. And that occasional catch in
O'Riordan's voice is just arresting enough to draw you in, without ever seeming
like an affectation or a distraction.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, pp.93-94) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...shimmering pop numbers...and earnest acoustics...These youthful old pros have never sounded more winning or unified."
Mojo (5/99, p.112) - "...Ms. O'Riordan and her merry men have now turned their rapier-keen wits to the existential realities or ordinary, everyday life..."
Guitar Magazine (7/99, p.97) - "...their best album to date....no drop-off in quality between the record's strongest tracks and the rest of the album....the band's most complete work yet."
CMJ (4/26/99, pp.28-9) - "...sweet shimmering ballads and tart, distorted jangle-pop....the Cranberries pack strings into their lush, Smith-inspired rock to really hit their mark."
THE HATCHET: The Cranberries' fourth album is steeped in the two sonic flavors
that have always defined the Irish band's successful career: sweet, shimmering
ballads and tart, distorted jangle-pop. Singer and co-songwriter Dolores
O'Riordan stratifies her vocals in breathy layers on tender tracks such as
"You And Me," while she shoots her voice out in brittle bursts on the
punchier numbers, such as the siren-call lead single "Promises."
Exemplified on "Copycat," a cynical swipe at a bland music industry,
O'Riordan often laces the upbeat songs with attempts at lyrical provocation and/or
thoughtfulness, but overall, her softer touch is what lyrically and musically
best suits this record. On "Delilah," the most focused entry on Bury
The Hatchet, the Cranberries pack strings into their lush, Smiths-inspired
rock to really hit their mark.
- Steve Ciabattoni: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 615 - Apr 26, 1999
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
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 that 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 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 Bacharanian 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. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine
(3 out of 5 stars)
Bury the Hatchet - The Cranberries
The Cranberries, like their fellow
Irishmen, U2 have always been a politically fuelled band, touching on
sensitive social issues as their third album To the Faithful Departed
revealed. However, the band seems to have moved on, and seems keen to
put the past behind them, as the title of their latest album suggests.
The result is an album that is satisfying throughout. Filled with rock
harmonies that roll between the soft, the acoustic and the furious, Bury
the Hatchet is one of the most complete albums released in 1999.
Saurabh Lall, 17, studies science at Jai Hind
Artist: The Cranberries
Album: Bury the Hatchet
A Top-20 debut
Pro-Social Content: A
couple facing a split are urged to recall their "eternal vows"("Promises").
"Just My Imagination" credits a divine personality with creating the
gift of love. On "You and Me, "lead singer Dolores O'Riordan pays
tribute to her young son. She credits a person with being her "Saving Grace"
and rejects a man who has habitually lied to her ("Shattered"). The
singer is determined not to follow the crowd on "Copycat"("So
much for the radio/Everybody sounds the same/Everybody wears the same clothes
now and everybody plays the game"). The love song "What's on My Mind"
expresses undying devotion.
frustration and concern, "Fee Fi Fo" boldly condemns the sexual abuse
of children ("How could you get satisfaction from the body of a child?/You're
Bitter over being spurned by a lover, a vengeful woman longs to see him
miserable ("Loud and Clear"). They may be intended as sarcastic, but
the flip suggestions "go out and get high . . . go out and get laid"
on "Desperate Andy" could lead teens to act irresponsibly. On "Delilah,
"O'Riordan threatens to "rearrange" someone's face.
Creatively, Bury the Hatchet
doesn't break any new ground. That's fine with us since the band's quest for
consistency has led to a lyrical steadiness that, with very few exceptions,
reflects an upbeat view of life. Even so, the carelessness of "Desperate
Andy" spoils a worthy effort.
"Bury the Hatchet" | Island
Donna Freydkin |
Released after a three-year
recording hiatus, the Cranberries' fourth record is a perfect continuation of
the languid, textured jangle pop the Irish foursome first introduced six years
ago. The songs are not particularly innovative -- they still have that same
grungified dreaminess -- but the album maintains a consistency and stamina
absent on the group's bland third album, "To the Faithful Departed"
(1996), an ill-thought attempt to make the delicate Cranberries sound like a
forceful rock band.
Cranberries seem reenergized; in interviews the band members -- singer Dolores
O'Riordan, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler --
attribute the album's vigor to time off from recording and tours. Somehow the
gorgeous and deftly constructed pop melodies of "Bury the Hatchet" are
both fragile ("Dying in the Sun") and furious ("Fee Fi Fo").
Still, O'Riordan's keening voice is the focal point of any Cranberries song. On
the torrential "Animal Instinct" and dainty "Just My Imagination"
she creates moments of inspired vocal beauty when she overlays her lilting,
wistful voice against the stripped-down guitar backdrops.
sold some 28 million albums since their 1993 debut, the Cranberries understand
the combination of naive lyrics and familiar melodies that add up to commercial
hits. They're still at their best when they stick to the forcefully moody, rich
pop songs like "Linger" and "Dreams" that gave them a huge
U.S. audience. Producer Benedict Fenner (Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson) helps the
band get away from harsh guitars and back to the sounds that made them likable
in the first place. And that might be the most important message implied by
"Hatchet's" soundscapes and O'Riordan's swirling words about emotional
turmoil and ruined relationships: "Departed" was a only short detour.
For all their success since 1993's "Linger," the Cranberries never convincingly rocked. The Limerick, Ireland, quartet's fourth album gives in to their solid melodic instincts once and for all. Amid the simple, shimmering pop numbers ("Animal Instinct," "You and Me," "Saving Grace") and earnest acoustics ("Shattered"), the Cranberries goof on rhythm and singer Dolores O'Riordan tempers her harsh Celtic nasalities. "Desperate Andy" bounces and dips tirelessly; "Loud and Clear" features silly lyrics ("People are stranger/People in danger") and a vaguely ska beat; "Just My Imagination" could pass for "Our House" drained of Madness' wacky stridency. The band's arena-size arrangements pump up these modest tunes - "Copycat" races like "Salvation" did, without that single's self-righteousness, and "Delilah" pounds away mercilessly. On "Promises," O'Riordan sounds characteristically shrill and perky while guitar chords whang and the drums audition for Survivor. These youthful old pros have never sounded more winning or unified. (RS 812) ARION BERGER (*** out of 5)
Cranberries are back with a new album, new look and harder sound. Their fourth
release, Bury The Hatchet is a mixture of hard rock, ethereal new-wave
sounding pop and ballads with touches of their Irish musical roots thrown in.
The musical mix and diversity help to break up the purity of Delores O'Riordan's
voice. The distinctiveness of O'Riordan's voice is The Cranberries' most
outstanding trait, but its crystal quality can cause the ear to lose interest
after a few phrases. In a way, this forces The Cranberries to make music that
surrounds and compliments her voice. It's a challenge they've surmounted on this
The record starts off with furious-paced
tracks like "Animal Instinct" and "Promises", eventually
leading into the whimsical ballad, "Saving Grace" then winding down to
the spiritual "Fee Fi Fo". Many of the tracks' intros consist of
eclectic synthesized effects or they're acoustic which trip into racing melodies,
rolling rhythms and infectious riffs. The record ends with the gentle "Dying
In The Sun", a song with simple instrumentation and Delores singing in a
higher range than usual.
Bury The Hatchet
is described as
The Cranberries' "most fully realized album to date". I have to agree.
© 1999 Viacom International Inc. All
On the heels of their smash debut, the brilliantly titled Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, and the even more popular follow-up, No Need to Argue, the Cranberries fell victim to the same bad instincts as a thousand ascendant pop stars before them--they started taking themselves way too seriously. The dreary, self-important To the Faithful Departed was the result, and fans that had thrilled to the gossamer melodies of "Linger" and "Dreams" or the powerful crunch of "Zombie" abandoned the group in droves. They might want to reconsider. Bury the Hatchet is a welcome return to form that focuses on sweeping melodies and soaring vocals while leaving the grand pronouncements to those more suited to making them--Zack de la Rocha, say, or, at the very least, Bono. Bury the Hatchet is brimming with gorgeous tunes such as "Animal Instinct," "Saving Grace," "You and Me," and the delicate "Shattered." "Promises" and "Delilah," meanwhile, are feisty rockers, showing off Dolores O'Riordan's keening voice and confirming the band's ability to play to the back rows. --Daniel Durchholz
BURY THE HATCHET marks the Cranberries' return to excellent form and the hopeful spirit of their 1993 debut, EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT, SO WHY CAN'T WE? The strident feel of BURY's first single, "Promises," one of the few (and slight) missteps on an otherwise intelligent and warmly produced album, is misleading, given the band's renewed commitment to melody and cleaner arrangements. On songs like "Fee Fi Fo" (about child molestation), anger's sharp edges are honed rather than dulled by acoustic guitars and O'Riordan's toned-down vocals. But on this fourth album, love rules: O'Riordan sings "You and Me" and the sweet but not cloying "Saving Grace" with her baby boy firmly in mind; the nostalgic "Just My Imagination" recalls a relationship in the first blushes of discovery; and "Copycat" hints at the sense of humor buried somewhere in the band's still-earnest lyrics. With BURY THE HATCHET, the Cranberries have created something that is increasingly hard to find these days: a good pop album. Marie Elsie St. Lιger
Cranberries strike with Hatchet
STEVENSON-- Toronto Sun
(Island/Universal 524 611 2)
And given each of their three previous albums have sold millions, "if ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be the golden rule here.
Working with co-producer Benedict Fenner (Brian Eno, James, Laurie Anderson), feisty and fragile-sounding lead singer Dolores O'Riordan is her usual outspoken self on the band's fourth album, in stores Tuesday.
Co-written with guitarist Noel Hogan after the foursome almost called it quits a few years back, due to the pressures of non-stop touring and fame, the album is equal parts Irish bluster and delicately expressed emotion.
On Loud And Clear, the tabloid press editors seem to be the object of O'Riordan's wrath as she yells: "I remember there was nothing I could ever do, never could impress you, even if I tried ... Hope you get a puncture everywhere you drive, Hope the sun beats down on you and skin yourself alive."
Then there's the gorgeous guitar-driven first single, Promises, in which O'Riordan suggests: "Maybe we should burn the house down, Have ourselves another fight."
As for all those similar-sounding pop bands currently out there, they get theirs in the hard-driving Copycat: "So much for the radio, everybody sounds the same, Everybody wears the same clothes now and everybody plays the game."
O'Riordan, a recent new mom herself, also takes on child abusers in the song, Fee Fi Fo: "How could you touch something so innocent and pure, obscure, How could you get satisfaction from the body of a child, you're vile -- sick."
O'Riordan was actually several months pregnant when she wrote the lyrics for Bury The Hatchet, the demos for which were recorded in Toronto. Her son, Taylor, with Toronto-born husband Don Burton, was also born here.
Songs like You And Me and Saving Grace, specifically, refer to the child, but it's the startlingly different, album-ending, strings-and-piano accompanied Dying In The Sun that hints at the biggest change in O'Riordan's psyche: "Will you hold on to me, I am feeling frail, Will you hold on to me, We will never fail. I wanted to be so perfect you see, I wanted to be so perfect."
While not perfect, for die-hard Cranberries fans, it doesn't get much better than Bury The Hatchet. (4/5)
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