After lengthy layoff, Irish band will return with new album in the fall. There have been a lot of changes within the Cranberries since America last heard from the Limerick Ireland quartet. What’s most notable though, as the band sit in a London studio to discuss their October 23rd MCA release, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, is the fervor in which they speak about their renewed commitment to the group, a result of the internal baby boom that paralleled the recording of the effort.
“You don’t take the band for granted so much any more,” begins frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan who gave birth to her second child midway through laying down tracks on the band’s fifth studio album. “You kind of enjoy it more if you have children. If the band is your whole life you get sick of it ’cause you’re eating, drinking, sleeping the Cranberries. When you go and have children you have something real and something that’s more important ultimately — something that needs you more than anything else. Then it puts the challenge back into the band and you almost have to kind of work.”
“It’s easier to do this,” adds guitarist Noel Hogan, whose second daughter Sophie was born in March. “With a baby you can’t take a lunch break.”
So with this new enthusiasm and joined by producer Stephen Street, who worked on the group’s first two releases, which produced worldwide hits “Linger” and “Zombie,” the band laid down tracks for Wake Up in two sessions: one in Dublin last fall and the other in London in May. These resulted in a maturation of the Cranberries token Celtic rock sound, and in particular O’Riordan’s most confident vocals to date on tracks like potential first single “Analyse” with its echoes of “Ode to My Family,” the anthemic “This Is the Day,” and the delicate “Chocolate Brown.”
Having switched to new label MCA “because the music came secondary,” at their previous home Island, according to drummer Fergal Lawler, the Cranberries are looking forward to launching Wake Up in October. They are also gearing up for a 2002 tour to connect with longtime fans the band are sure haven’t been swayed by an American music scene weaned on the likes of Britney Spears. “We don’t’ really worry about it because we have our own Web site and we know how many Cranberry fans there are out there that have been following the band for years and years and years,” says O’Riordan. “I don’t think they’re suddenly going to get up and walk away just because Britney Spears is being played on the radio more than us. We have the history that a lot of those bands don’t. This is our fifth album not our first. So sure we were the big stars earlier… but what happens is a lot of bands can’t follow up and we followed it up time and time again. So we’re not looking for that anymore. We’ve been there, we’ve done that and now were just kind of surfing the ways and enjoying things.”