The Cranberries will give their fans a Valentine's Day present in 2012 with the Feb. 14 release of "Roses," the quartet's first studio album since "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" in 2001.
The new release comes on the heels of a reunion that brought the group back to the road in 2009 after a six-year hiatus and has continued with periodic touring since then. "It's kind of picking up where we left off," singer Dolores O'Riordan tells Billboard.com about "Roses," noting that the group started working on some of the songs, including "Raining in My Heart," during 2003 before starting the hiatus.
"The whole thing was very lovely," adds O'Riordan, who released a pair of solo albums -- "Are You Listening?" in 2007 and "No Baggage" in 2009 -- during the interim. "It really came together really nicely. A lot of the tracks were written without really thinking about it. They just came. I suppose we had more respect for each other and what we were doing. In the latter days, towards 2003, we were just kind of going through the motions a bit. Now we're really happy and really appreciate what we have together."
O'Riordan also gives props to Stephen Street, producing his fourth Cranberries album, for leading the group smoothly through sessions in April and May at Metalworks Studios in Toronto. "Stephen was a really important ingredient since he knows the band really well," says O'Riordan, who lives in rural northern Ontario with her family. "One thing I noticed about having Stephen was he taught me to stop trying. I began to try with my singing, and he was like, 'Relax. Just let it happen.' When you're on tour too much or on stage too much, you feel like you have to deliver and get this super-hyped vibe going. He cooled me down and got me into a place where I was just singing... as opposed to performing, which really helped."
Album Preview: "Tomorrow"
O'Riordan says she and her bandmates -- guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Michael Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler -- recorded 15 songs during the Toronto sessions, 11 of which will appear on "Roses" while the others will be used as B-sides and bonus tracks. A first single is still being determined, though O'Riordan says she favors "Tomorrow" which, like many of "Roses' " other songs, was inspired by real-life concerns of adulthood, parenting and mortality. "It's about the way we sometimes hyper over-escalate things in our minds, overthink about things...when sometimes spontaneity and just jumping in is better," O'Riordan explains. "Tomorrow you might not have that moment back again. So it's really about moving on and also about kid of looking at the younger generation and how they worry about all kinds of silly things. They don't think they're silly, but when you're older you know better."
Getting back to the Cranberries sound, meanwhile, was no problem for the group, especially after playing 107 shows around the world -- including the band's first-ever dates in China during July. "It's really cool, the chemistry," O'Riordan says. "It's really just right. There's something there when we're together that's really good. It's not something that money can buy. It's not really something anyone can really emulate. It's got to do with energy and chemistry and that kind of thing. It's like putting on a perfect pair of shoes. It just fits."
"Roses" will be released on Downtown Records/Cooking Vinyl in the U.S., and on Cooking Vinyl worldwide on Feb. 13. The Cranberries are planning to play Australia in March, while O'Riordan is expecting more dates to follow "Roses' " release, including a return to North America.
The Track List for "Roses" Includes:
3. "Fire & Soul"
4. "Raining In My Heart"
5. "Losing My Mind"
6. "Schizophrenic Playboys"
7. "Waiting In Walthamstow"
8. "Show Me"
9. "Astral Projections"
10. "So Good"