Review Summary: Uncertain is a nice addition to the collections of long-time fans.
The Cranberries broke onto the scene with Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
in 1993, and went on an impressive ten year run before going on what looks to be a permanent hiatus. Regardless of whether they reform or not (there have been rumours of an EP containing material from sessions back in 2003), the band has left a fairly decent back catalogue. Most of it can be heard on Treasure Box: The Complete Sessions 1991-1999
, but barring "Them", which was also appeared on the re-release of Everybody Else is Doing It
is a long forgotten gem. The Cranberries' earliest record, it was limited to merely 5,000 on its release in 1991. So it isn't very widely distributed, which is unfortunate as the material found here is quite good, and perhaps better than the majority of their post-1994 works.
Long before The Cranberries filled arenas and wrote politically fuelled rock, they played a low key, laidback style of alt rock; dream pop if you will. As much as I enjoy cuts like "Zombie", "Hollywood", and "Promises", this is where the band seems most comfortable. As result, Uncertain
plays out similarly to Everybody Else is Doing It
, though without the catchiness. The title track, which is somewhat similar to "Dreams", while not quite as lively, embodies the band's dreamy sound exceedingly well. Arranged perfectly with guitarist Noel Hogan's light strumming is a string section, which helps convey the ethereal qualities of "Uncertain", and makes for a charming song. "Nothing Left At All" features singer Dolores O'Riordan in a more prominent role, as she controls the song's calm demeanour through her anguished (yet somewhat corny at the same time) lyrical imagery. Hogan drops a driving guitar hook during the chorus, diversifying the song without stealing attention from O'Riordan. "Pathetic Senses" is the closest thing to a rock song that you'll hear on the EP. Drummer Fergal Lawler's steady drumming sets the tone of the song before O'Riordan takes over. The track is a fast paced endeavour, but maintains the mellowed out atmosphere that The Cranberries' early material stresses so much.
"Them", which is reminiscent of "Everything I Said" off No Need to Argue
(or the other way around, really, since this came first), closes off Uncertain
in a melancholic fashion. The song isn't quite as interesting as the three that precede it, but it's a nice, pensive piece which draws on Dolores' soft-spoken vocal effort, and closes the recording nicely. As the EP is only fourteen minutes long, new listeners might as well just look into their first two albums, but Uncertain
is a nice addition to the collection of old b-sides for long-time fans.