cs-CranberriesCD.JPG (198226 bytes)


Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
MCA Records


  The Cranberries' latest offering, Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, is an almost exclusively muted affair. Gone, for the most part, are rockers as intense as "Zombie" in favor of watered down alt-pop. Even the few that do rock are fairly lifeless and flaccid. Just listen to "This Is The Day." It lacks the conviction and power of the band's earlier work and is just a tepid shadow of what came before. The closest to a successful up-tempo song is the almost decent title track. The others are just sterile. The edges have been sanded down to the point where this record isn't any more than background music. On the other hand, "Pretty Eyes" manages to turn the weaknesses into strengths. This is soft and haunting. Lyrically and melodically, it's akin to a less depressing Portishead and represents a comforting, easy side to The Cranberries' that they should explore further. "The Concept" also takes this route to success. While the words are a bit too sugary ("Hold on to the concept of love, always darling"), the mixture of a modern beat, piano, tremeloed guitar and moody harmonies would make this a great addition to a soundtrack album. Perhaps the band should focus less on being a guitar driven modern rock band. The only songs that rise above mediocrity on this collection are the ones in which they stop driving the listeners around and instead let them move with the flow. (2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404)

 Chris McKay/concertshots.com