In January, the band reconvened in Toronto, to record more demos of the songs they had been working on in late ‘97. All four members recall a great sense of fun and excitement about the Canadian sessions and about the ease in which the new songs were played and recorded.
Early in February, Dolores and her family flew back to their new home in Kilmallock. The band moved in to their rehearsal studio to develop the songs. They had never had such a luxury of time to prepare for a new album.
By this stage, a plan was beginning to take shape with the possibility of a tour to promote the new music. But this time, on the band’s own terms. And a band that by this stage had sold more than 25 million albums worldwide could call a few shots.
In May, the band moved in to the studio at Studio Miraval in the South of France to begin recording the new album. At the controls this time was co-producer and engineer, Benedict Fenner who had worked with such diverse stars as Laurie Anderson, Elvis Costello and Brian Eno and James.
“It felt like when we first started out as a band together”, says Fergal. “There was a real freshness and happiness that hadn’t been there for a long time.”
Then in July, the band returned to Limerick for the marriage of the final bachelor of the band – Mikey. He married his long time girlfriend, Siobhan. After the honeymoon he flew back to join the rest of the crew in a studio in London for more recording. The new album was mixed and completed by the end of September – one year after the band first started working on new songs. Its title – “Bury The Hatchet”.
Rehearsals then began back in the studio in Kilmallock to bring the band up to “live” standard, and beyond, to a level they had never previously achieved due to the demands on their time. This pre-tour workout would have a huge effect on their live performances throughout the world in ‘99.
In November, the Cranberries stepped back out into the public gaze when Dolores and Fergal appeared in Milan, Italy, at the MTV European Music Awards to present an award. Afterwards, at a brief press call, they revealed the plans to return in the New Year with an album plus a world tour, their first in 3 years.
In December, the band make their first live appearance in two years when they perform “Dreams” and a brand new song “Promises” at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Norway.
“It was a strange gig”, says Dolores. “There we were, pumped up for our return to the stage and we play to a very quiet bunch of polite people in suits. Very nice, but very quiet.”