The Cranberries

The Cranberries

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

MCA

Apparently, it’s only necessary to have one Cranberries album in your collection, because (with the exception of 1996’s To the Faithful Departed), they seem to keep remaking it over and over. Their latest effort, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, sounds a whole lot like, well, everything else the band’s ever done. Nowhere is this more obvious that on the record’s second track, “Analyse,” which sounds so much like the band’s early hit “Dreams” that they could sue themselves for copyright infringement (and that’s after The Proclaimers finish with them for taking the rhythmic structure of both songs from “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”).

That’s not to say that Wake Up is a bad album — to the contrary, the band is quite good at this formula. But it is a formula, and it’s starting to show its age. Where songs like “Linger,” “Dreams,” and “Zombie” were a breath of fresh air at the time of their release, the virtually-the-same tracks on Wake Up are starting to feel a bit stagnant. Yeah, they make token attempts at changing things up a bit — “This is the Day,” for example, could be U2 on a particularly melancholy day, if not for Dolores O’Riordan’s distinctive vocals — but overall, this is by-the-book Cranberries with very few surprises.

If you’re a hardcore Cranberries fan, you’re sure to love this record — it’s everything you’ve come to love about the band. But if you’re only a casual listener and you’ve already got either Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? or No Need to Argue, you don’t need Wake Up — the prior two albums did all the same things, and still sound a lot fresher, despite their age.

MCA Records: http://www.mcarecords.com • The Cranberries: http://www.cranberries.ie

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