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Berries ripe for new start
Noel Hogan, left, Fergal Lawler, Dolores O’Riordan and Mike Hogan are back on the Cranberries wagon. Picture: Supplied.

When the Cranberries called it a day in 2003, they didn't think a reunion tour in the US and Europe would take place seven years later. They reacquainted with fans, which in turn prompted them to write a new album titled Roses.

"It really became clear during the tour," explains Noel Hogan from his home in Ireland. "The energy from that tour really got us back in the mood to make an album. The crowd was super keen for the shows and we noticed our fans weren't just our age and older, there were a lot of younger people in the audience. It reignited our fire to start the band up again."

After releasing two hit records, Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We? in 1993 and No Need to Argue in 1994, the Cranberries began to feel the pressure of being signed to a major label. For the first time in their career, they felt obliged to stay on the road, with little room for rest, and to quickly make another record. By the time their third album, To the Faithful Departed, was released in 1997, they were running on empty.

"When we started the band, it was great. We were travelling all the time and doing all the things you dream of when you are a teenager wanting to be in a band. We were just 20. It felt like one day we were playing to 50 people and soon after we were playing arena shows. Sometimes you had to pinch yourself," Hogan says.

"The downside was we realised after the second album we should have taken time away. Our record company and management didn't want any break in our cycle. The third album has songs on that weren't developed enough and more time should have been spent on them. That was when we started to feel this wasn't our band any more."

Hogan and frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan never stopped communicating during the down time. They have remained friends ever since the group formed in Limerick in 1989. They recruited producer Stephen Street, who worked on the first two albums, to recreate the spirit that defined them in the 90s.

"Dolores and I always kept working through song ideas even after the Cranberries stopped playing in 2003," Hogan says.

"In the end, we had come up with enough songs by 2009 that got us thinking about another Cranberries record."

Roses is the band's first album in 11 years and follows 2001's Wake Up and Smell the Coffee. O'Riordan's soft vocal range is a true return to form.

"We're not trying to be 20 again," Hogan says. "This is really about creating the band as it should have been all those years ago. We're back with a new energy, a true purpose and feel good about it." <div class="endnote">

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