Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
After racking up 33 million albums worth of sales during the past 10 years, The Cranberries are suddenly sounding mighty content—and that's one quick way to ruin a perfectly good band.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee is The Cranberries' fifth album and the least interesting thing these Irish rockers have ever recorded.
Oh, singer Dolores O'Riordan still sounds magnificent, a charismatic, captivating vocal presence whose Celtic lilt sails and soars its way around most of the album's 14 tracks. But where's the power? Where's the passion? Where's the pain? Not here for sure.
O'Riordan sounds positively sheepish on much of this, easing her way through sleepy-day songs like “The Concept,” and the wine-sipping saga “Carry On.” Never boring before, The Cranberries teeter perilously close to that edge on several other cuts that take way too long to go nowhere, like “Dying Inside.”
Mercifully, there are a handful of flashes of their old brilliance, particularly on the scorching title track, which finds O'Riordan wailing against crisp guitar power chords and the pounding drumming of the group's most underrated member, Fergal Lawler. It's melodic, it's meticulously produced (by Stephen Street) and it rocks. So too does the surging “I Really Hope.” But those are the exceptions to what's generally a disappointingly dull disc.