Review Summary: The Cranberries find who they are again, and do so in a mature way that they still sound relevant, and also like who they are today. But with maturity comes age, and while adult contemporary works great for this band, it's not effective enough to cover up
The Cranberries have confidently re-entered the 21st century after a decade of abscence from the music scene, with their latest offering, Roses. Which sees the band return with all of the original members, their original producer, and their original sound most importantly.
The band's last two albums saw them strip their sound down to basics, only to then subsequently overwhelm it with ambitious ideas in a struggling attempt to stay original and special, and stand out as the world left the over-saturated market of alternative rockers at the end of the 90's, and entered the new millennium. However, the issue with this excessive amount of ambition they were pairing with the core essentials of the established sound they had become notable for, was that the result lacked the appropriate foundation these experiments needed to make sense and work with The Cranberries' style they were using as a vehicle.
On Roses though, The Cranberries wisely decide to embrace their age and utilize the professionalism that comes from age in their sound. Though on the down side, age is still unfortunately very apparent in usually any case. Much time has passed since Zombie first became an alt. rock radio staple, that was a completely different era.
And also because of this, it sadly cannot be helped that the production sounds that made this band sound the way they only exclusively could in the 90's, is not present in Roses. Without this ethereal atmosphere of the production quality of a time long passed, Roses instead opts for a more contemporary pop approach, which works in the same vibe, but is less effective.
The approach does leave a mature impression by flirting a lovely adult pop rock feel that makes this album's lyrical themes of love quite attractive, but since it isn't as powerful as the band's previous production methods, this allows the band's noticable age to overpower it.
This just causes more attention to be drawn to the age factor (which would not be a major flaw in the first place if the backing music was strong enough and balanced it out), that they do reinforce with their professionalism, but even with it being their best album in years, with pros such as a return to their roots and sense of comfort in their veteran status being prevalent, Roses comes off as kind of an uneven listen.