No Baggage

Former Cranberries woman gives us too much of a good thing

Dolores O’Riordan has talent in abundance, but not always the taste to temper it. A beguiling singer and gifted melodicist but not a wordsmith or arranger of the same calibre, her winsome proclivities frequently get swamped by Big Rock backing. There’s something intrinsically ill-at-ease about Dolores’s music – one thinks of Celine Dion fronting The Sundays. No Baggage is her second solo album, and tunes like ‘Skeleton’ sound tormented without ever being cathartic, Dolores yodeling over beefy drums, chiming guitars and anti-bacterial-wiped surfaces.

There are many lapses of judgment: from the new-agey strains of ‘The Journey’ and ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ to the so-90s Joan Osborne production job to the sleeve design. When she gets it right, as with ‘It’s You’, the directness of the sentiment allied to 4AD/indie charm is a dose of Prozac. Elsewhere, the vocal on ‘Stupid’ is fragile and perfectly pitched against a subtle backing track and elegant piano figure. But all told, No Baggage is underwritten and overproduced. Dolores O’Riordan is a gifted singer in need of the right musical foil.

 

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