Will the recent announcement of the reunion of The Cranberries bring more attention to Dolores O'Riordan's recently released second solo album? It would be a shame if it didn't because "No Baggage" is worthy of said attention.
Apparently, the Cranberries reunion tour will include both their hits and songs from "No Baggage" and a number of the songs here certainly would have fit on a Cranberries album. "It's You" is driving pop with the jangly guitar sound Cranberries were famous for. "Apple Of My Eye" is pure dream pop with O'Riordan providing a lush vocal take.
Opening track "Switch Off The Moment" is typical of much of the album, a very strong melody, memorable chorus and heavy on guitar. The rockers "Skeleton" and "Fly Through" also boast instantly catchy choruses.
It's not all standard pop/rock fare though. The dreamy "Throw Your Arms Around Me" features hypnotic Indian instrumentation and sounds and album closer "Tranquilizer" is a mid-tempo ballad with shuffling drums, atmospheric keys and guitar that bursts into a powerful finale.
"Be Careful" stands out as the highlight of the album. Hushed on the verses, O'Riordan warns "be careful what you're wishing for" before belting out the sing-along chorus over hard guitar, a slinky bass line and pounding drums.
The only songs that really don't work on "No Baggage" are the ballads, especially the clunker "Lunatic". The piano and vocal track is pretty enough but suffers from repetitive lyrics and an over-dramatic performance. The other piano based ballad "Stupid" is slightly better but still rather bland.
There is still no denying O'Riordan is one of the great female vocalists in pop and her unique voice is in fine form here. Lyrically, the album suffers in spots, but vocally she's as strong as ever.It'll be a treat to see her reunited with her Cranberries mates, as well as to hear this new solo material performed live. The majority of it will fit in fine mixed in with the Cranberries classics.Purchase "No Baggage" from Amazon.com