Listening to ‘In The End’, the final album for The Cranberries, is an eerie experience, when you remember that Dolores O’Riordan and her ethereal voice, is no longer with us. This is literally a voice from beyond. And equally, you can’t help but wonder what she was thinking in those last days, as they were recording the album.
Having said that, it’s an exceptional record. O’Riordan’s vocals are superb, full of the anarchy and bang to rights bravado that have characterised their previous works – but now with a sort of world-weariness, a resolve perhaps, an acceptance of things having to be a certain way. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
The album was well on its way to completion at the time of O’Riordan’s untimely death in January last year, so thankfully, ‘In The End’ doesn’t feel like it’s been pulled together from scraps; it’s an album that just required a bit of fine tuning. It’s a pleasant listen; all of O’Riordan’s previous earnestness is still there, just turned down a notch or two: played at 8 or 9, rather than ramped up to 11.
Standout tracks are the singles of course, ‘All Over Now’ and its tale of a woman who’s beaten but is afraid to tell her partner – presumably because the circumstances would cause him to batter her more; and the title track, which closes the album. But others, including, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, which sees Dolores utilising her familiar tremolo, are equally as captivating, and call to mind earlier classics such as ‘Zombie’ (which sadly I can no longer listen to, due to a child’s Christmas gift of the single being played virtually non-stop for a week).
Eleven tracks long, ‘In The End’ is probably too much to unpack in one review. My benchmark for a good album is if when reviewing it I lose myself in listening rather than taking notes: ‘In The End’ is such an album, and on that note, I suggest you listen to it and make your own judgement. For mine, I find it enjoyable yet bittersweet, as with the death of O’Riordan, it really was the final album for the band. Having said that – they’ve gone out with a bang, not a whimper, and you can’t do much better than that.
‘In The End’ by the Cranberries, is out today through BMB. Stream and download here.