Unearthed Irish rock, not dead
There are only a few Irish bands that have made it to the world stage without crumbling. Limerick-borne sensation The Cranberries, is the definition of an Irish success story (with the exception of U2). Crafted in the alternative shift of the 1990s, the band made the mysticism of traditional Irish music come alive with rock and post-punk influences.
Years after The Cranberries’ original debut of No Need to Argue in 1994, a full remastered 25th Anniversary edition has been released. The expanded edition of their sophomore album is a collection of original tracks, B-sides, demos and live tracks, that widen their breadth with previously unreleased music.
The original 1994 album is the group’s best-selling album, including their number one hit songs “Zombie” and “Ode to My Family,” selling an estimated 17 million copies worldwide. “Zombie” is remastered and mixed by British ambient house musician Alex Paterson (of The Orb). “Zombie” is also in the form of their July 1995 performance at Milton Keynes. “I Can’t Be With You” and “Ridiculous Thoughts” versions at Milton Keynes are also added to the second disc.
The remastered album consists of six Magic Shop Demos of original No Need to Argue tracks, including a re-recorded “So Cold in Ireland” and first-named “Song to My Family.” Both with the gusto that Dolores O’Riordan consistently brought to their sessions. Two demo tracks from previous recording sessions, “Away” and “I Don’t Need,” are jimmied in as well. Founders of the band, Brothers Mike (bass) and Noel (guitar) Hogan’s mastery maintain the eclecticism of the band’s Brit-pop alternative sound.
Over an hour and a half of new music are included, with 19 unreleased tracks recorded over their career as a band. Two tracks are completely new to their musical repertoire, including their coveted 1995 MTV Unplugged performance of “Yesterday’s Gone” and a demo of “Serious”–which previously was only a low-quality bootleg on YouTube.
With more live music, their famed performance in October 1994 at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre is included with five tracks from this day. The band’s live energy thrives in this album, contrasting well with the rest of the demos and B-sides. “Dreaming My Dreams” is taken over with Noel Hogan’s wizardry, but faded out to “Daffodil Lament,” where O’Riordan’s voice transcends the theatre’s acoustics.
Also recorded from the Royal Court Theatre, “The Icicle Melts” intertwines the best of the track’s components with O’Riordan’s magnetism. Their live version of “Empty” doesn’t lack the empathy of the original recording, where drummer Fergal Lawler’s rhythm carries O’Riordan’s voice to the heavens. The album’s namesake “No Need to Argue” makes an appearance live as well, delivering with the rest of this concert’s grandeur.
Two years after O’Riordan’s unprecedented death, her voice lives on. Combining Church, Irish and Rock was largely untouched by music. Though fueled by their distinct group sound, The Cranberries’ re-issue of No Need to Argue has aged well, with new elements that bring it into the 21st century.