In 1995, The Cranberries attempted to reinvent themselves with their album, “To The Faithful Departed”. The Irish pop quartet tried to sell themselves as edgy, socially conscious rockers and failed miserably. The anti-war and drug messages of tracks like “Bosnia” and “Salvation” were neutralized by the limited songwriting skills of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. Four years later, the ‘Berries try to get back to doing what they do best, making pretty music, on their fourth album.

“Bury The Hatchet” delivers a little of what made The Cranberries so successful in the early 90’s. Well-crafted, atmospheric pop numbers like “Shattered”, “Saving Grace” and the album’s best track “You and Me” represent the group’s best work in years. Upbeat tracks like “Copycat” and ” Delilah” are also above average. The lyrics are still as elementary as ever. The line “people are stranger, people in danger” in the otherwise decent “Loud and Clear” makes no sense whatsoever. On the anti-child abuse track “Fe, Fi, Fo” O’Riordan hits us with the revelation that child molesters are sick. How observant. For the first time in a long time, though, such moments of lyrical silliness are the exception and not the rule. The verse of “Just My Imagination” sounds exactly like Madness’ “Our House”, but the former isn’t nearly as fun a listen as the latter.

“Bury The Hatchet” isn’t at the level of the ‘Berries best album, their 1993 debut “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”(“You and Me” is the only song that comes close). It is a definite improvement over The Cranberries last album, but that really isn’t saying much. The lyrics to some of the songs are really flimsy, which after four albums is inexcusable. Four years between albums is plenty of time go out and buy a thesaurus. As a fan of the group, I expected a much better album than I got.


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