- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

They have been together as musicians for more than a decade, have recorded five albums and sold more than 33 million records. Not bad for a band whose members are still in their 20s.

The Cranberries, from Limerick, Ireland, are gladly touring the States again with their guitar-driven sound, stopping by the Filene Center at Wolf Trap on Tuesday in support of their newest CD, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee."

"We are enjoying this tour more than ever before," bassist Mike Hogan says from his hotel room in Montreal.

"We just finished touring through Europe, and we are really having a good time. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary as a band, which gives us a lot of material from each of our past five albums, plus this new one to perform, and the schedule is much more balanced than it has been in the past."

There are many reasons for this tour being more enjoyable for the band, which comprises Mr. Hogan, his guitarist brother Noel Hogan, lead singer-songwriter Delores O'Riordan and drummer Fergal Lawler. The group reached stardom when the members were in their teens, with two early worldwide hits: "Linger," from the group's 3-million-selling debut "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?" in 1993 and "Zombie" from "No Need to Argue," released in 1994

They have reached the heights of success and can concentrate on being musicians and enjoying it.

"We worked with Stephen Street on both of those early albums, and it was great to get back to work with him again on this latest CD," Mr. Hogan says of their producer.

"It's funny; people ask us how we developed our sound and it has just been a natural thing. We grew up listing to the same music The Smiths, The Crew and New Order and we just do our thing, the four of us, and it comes together naturally."

Though playing together as The Cranberries for more than a decade leads to a bond built on familiarity, it is only a part of this band's history. Band members, brothers Mike and Noel Hogan aside, have known each other for half their lives, forging friendships as early as 14.

"The guys, we had older brothers who knew each other, and so we got to hanging around and we began this band," Mr. Hogan says. "When our original singer left, well, we met Delores, which was a bit of luck, and we have been together ever since, through the ups and downs."

"Wake Up and Smell The Coffee" provides lyrics that are strongly evocative of the spiritual, environmental, political and "hey, let's just be good people and be nice to each other" themes that have been part of The Cranberries' repertoires. The tracks to the CD were laid down in just two sessions, one in Dublin in the fall and the other in the spring in London.

The song "Wake Up" questions the concept of the present and its importance, repeatedly reminding the listener that "Time is Ticking Out," an anthem that begs the listener to remember the environmentalist cause and was featured on the soundtrack to the Paramount/Nickelodeon film "Clockstoppers."

While the cut "Analyse," an up-tempo rock 'n' roll song, promises to put them back on the charts with a new single. The first track, "Never Grow Old," holds Cranberries' trademark spirituality.

"Delores and Noel do the lyric writing, each contributing equally to the albums," Mr. Hogan says. "And they are both pretty open about their emotions and the things that they see and experience in life."

Adding to the experiences that influence their work, children have brought a new focus. Miss O'Riordan gave birth to her second child during the recording of this CD, and Noel Hogan welcomed his second child this spring. Mike Hogan's family includes a 7-month-old boy.

This tour puts the Cranberries back on the road with Mr. Lawler in full-tour force for the first time since the "Bury the Hatchet Tour" in 1999.

Concertgoers can expect an exuberant, yet relaxed and intimate experience when the group reaches Virginia's Wolf Trap.

"We love to play Wolf Trap. Like other smaller venues, it allows us to perform a much more spontaneous show," Mr. Hogan says. "Coming back to the States, well, the music thing in America is very strange, with manufactured bands like Britney Spears.

"But I believe there will always be rock music. It may have gone through some different stages, but guitar bands are coming back, and we are putting together shows that will have something for all fans: both those that have been with us for a long time and those that are new."

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