The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We
The Cranberries, more so than almost any contemporary group now coming out of Ireland, translate the lyric delicacy and metaphorical melancholy of Gaelic folk music to a rock format. The Cranberries are a tight little band with a sound all their own, though at times many of their songs do suggest some sort of strange communion between U2 and Bjork. How so? The gossamer strains of Noel Hogan's electric guitar recall The Edge's spacy chording, but Hogan's rhythmic focus tends more towards eclectic folk stylings (a la Richard Thompson) than the arena gestures of rock. Which isn't to say that his dancing interplay with bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Feargal Lawlor lacks impact. Quite the contrary. Songs such as "Dream" and "Waltzing Back" illustrate the band's special chemistry and harmonic buoyancy, as airy chording gives way to punchy riffs and gruff power chords. But it is The Cranberries remarkable vocalist Dolores O'Riordan who defines the band's unique sound and broad appeal. O'Riordan has an eccentric, emotive style and a stunning vocabulary of guttural whoops and throttled cries (to particular effect on "Pretty"). On "I Still Do" she doubletracks her breathless voice (as she does throughout EVERYBODY ELSE...), creating a mournful melodic ambience as the band rises to match her emotional peaks in a tale of a played out love that will not die. This plaintive tone of O'Riordan resonates throughout EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT, SO WHY CAN'T WE? "You mystify me, you mystify me" she intones dimly as if in a haze on "Sunday" as the band tolls away behind her, while on "Waltzing Back" her yodeling cries and muttered grace notes impart tremendous power to each phrase in this clannish dance.