Bury the Hatchet
Once heralded as one of the bright new bands on the alt-rock horizon, Ireland's The Cranberries were fed up, burned out and seemingly headed for splitsville when they abruptly cut short a massive world tour in 1996. Lo and behold they're back, with a new disc and a major tour in the works. The 13-song album is sparked as always by the truly exquisite vocals of Dolores O'Riordan. Though she's known to deliver the occasional sumptuous ballad (“Dying in the Sun”) she is one singer who's at her best when she rocks and rocks hard. That's why the killer lead single “Promises” ranks right up there with earlier Cranberries hits like “Zombie” and why the ferocious “Delilah” (which was inspired by O'Riordan's barroom brawl with another woman) carries a full force throttle. Unfortunately, the set definitely loses steam during the second half. Cuts like the rapid-fire “Copycat” and the lyrically lackluster “Desperate Andy” miss the mark, while ballads like “Saving Grace” pale in comparison to some of the more fiery fare.