If her face isn’t immediately recognizable, her voice most certainly is. Since 1993, Dolores O’Riordan led the Cranberries, one of the more commercially successful bands of the last decade and spawned the hits ‘Dreams’, ‘Zombie,’ ‘Ode To My Family,’ ‘Salvation’ and others. Together the group released five albums, the most recent in 2001 with Wake Up And Smell The Coffee.
When the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2003, it was widely rumored that it was due to O’Riordan’s desire to make a solo album. And while that may have been one reason, the split certainly allowed O’Riordan and the others to work on their own projects.
The next few years would find O’Riordan contributing to other projects, including Zucchero‘s Zucchero & Co. and the Evilenko soundtrack for composer Angelo Badalamenti. In 2006, O’Riordan was featured in the Adam Sandler‘s comedy, Click, portraying a wedding singer who performs a string version of the early Cranberries hit, ‘Linger.’
Six years after the Cranberries’ last album, O’Riordan is now preparing for the release of her first solo effort with the exceptional, Are You Listening?. The album features twelve all-new tracks and exhibits itself with a sound more reminiscent of the Cranberries’ later records; a harder-edged delivery with heavier guitar work which thankfully, never drown out O’Riordan’s powerful vocals.
Among the record’s standouts include the first single, ‘Ordinary Day,’ a song written for O’Riordan’s daughter, the supremely pleasant ‘Human Spirit’ and the hypnotic, impacting ‘Black Widow,’ a song originally penned in 2003 and inspired by O’Riordan’s mother-in-law.
Although there is nothing particularly groundbreaking with Are You Listening?, the album is a strong one from beginning to end and features many songs that are instantly infectious. If nothing else, this is a welcome release by an artist I’m certain many are anxious to hear again.
Dolores O’Riordan’s Are You Listening? is scheduled for release in the U.S. on May 15. A North American tour is planned for the summer.