NME - Cranberries World
|he teenage party people are
out in force tonight. A
Freshers’ Ball on a drizzly
Dublin night, no alcohol but a
reassuring pool of vomit by the men’s
room, groping hordes with their
tongues locked on the dancefloor,
and The Cranberries, all the way
from Limerick, onstage.
Singer Delores O ’Riordan stands sideways and
looks at the crow d w ith a m ixture o f suspicion and
uncertainty, but her w ords tell another story. There
aren't many girls doing what Delores does. N o t in
Dublin, not in Limerick, certainly not in London. A
listen to the debut £P ‘Uncertain’ gives you an idea
w hat’s going on. But see her live and you know,
someone done her wrong. And she w o n ’t let them
Delores/Cranberrie songs are a diary o f desire
ripped open, the promise o f all-consuming passion
thw arted, the taste o f sweet vengeance. She
castigates blokes fo r not facing up to the challenge o f
emotional comm itm ent, vows to tu rn things around
when she gets him alone. Then she’ll tu rn into an
angel o f retrib u tio n and decide he’d be b e tte r o ff
T here’s sensuality here, whispering, rising,
swooping and soaring through a sometimes
astonishing voice. But you get the feeling this is
something peculiar in pop. The anguish o f a girl who
can’t wait, a product o f repressed, rural Roman
Catholic Ireland, set free in pop w ith o u t a route
map. You m ight be right.
A G U Y comes backstage, he’s come from England
to see them. A genuine Cranberries fan who talks
bollocks. Fluently. W hen he hears they’re going on a
British to u r he’s aghast. He tells them not to stay in
hotels, it ’ll spoil them, he knows people w ho can put
them up (on the floor!). He doesn’t w ant to see The
Cranberries become a horrible old rock ’n’ roll
He goes away, Delores winks. “ He thinks I’m an
innocent wee g irl.” She has m et this type o f n u tter
before. O ne proposed marriage and sent her a tape
o f his band, “ Alien Trans-sexual o r something, it was
awful, really mad stuff.”
Although at 20 she’s an aunt eight o r nine times
over, Delores wants kids o f her own. “ But I’d say it ’s
b e tte r to wait, they say the longer you w ait the
b e tte r it is, I think th a t’s tru e .”
I th in k I need a drink but the tea machine is
broken. Perhaps Delores w ould like to join me in a
packet o f crisps?
“ O h no, if I start eating crisps I can’t stop. I ate 26
bags one day. I can’t stop myself. I’m on a diet. I know
girls are always on diets and w orrying about the way
they look but I’ve lost half a stone now.”
She’s just made her first professional trip to
London. She was there when she was 15 fo r a holiday
w ith her old man. It was the first tim e she’d gone
away from her country home in Mudder Ireland,
away from the livestock, neon Jesuses and plastic
crucifixes. She lost her dad and m et a bloke on the
“ He was about 30 and he was talking and all and I
thought he’s lovely. Then he stopped being so lovely.
It was awful,” she says mysteriously.
This tim e she got to see “ the place where the
Queen lives” . She asks me about the Royal Family,
are they good things? She’s heard they give a lo t o f
th e ir money to charity. She doesn’t like London
much, it ’s d irty and “ there was all those people, all
those different races” . She was frightened.
Ah yes, casual, ignorant Irish racism. I know it well.
I te ll her about the Dublin taxi driver I m et in Sydney,
Australia. He’d lived there fo r 14 years, after leaving
London “ because they let to o many foreigners in” .
Delores catches herself, gets the irony the taxi „
RUSH THE SHOW!
# Swooping and soaring this way, with their bittersweet passion and
traditional Celtic vibe, come out-of-townies THE CRANBERRIES, featuring
crisp addict and innocent abroad DELORES O’RIORDAN, who thinks the
Catholic Church are doing a grand job in Mother Ireland. ‘No Irony’ alert:
GAVIN MARTIN. The appealing Crans: STEFAN DE BATSELIER
d river missed.
“ Ach, prejudice is an awful thing, but it was the
firs t tim e I’d ever talked to a black man. I couldn’t
WE H E A D back to my hotel in The Cranberries’
van. Before the band, N oel Hogan, guitarist and
co-songwriter, was on the dole. Signing on was a
nightmare - bloody fights, alcos, beggars and street
thugs waiting to nab you and your cheque on the way
out. Noel was on a compulsory telephone answering
workscheme. It was dubbed the banana course
because they w ere short o f a phone. The guy at the
end o f the line had to hold a banana instead. O nly in
Someone smokes one o f the more interesting
type o f cigarettes. “ Open the w indow , it smells like
vom it,” says Delores.
Delores O’Riordan — the girl from Another Green World
The Cranberries (I to r): Fergal, Delores,
Mike and Noel
In the hotel, Delores pours the tea and her and
Noel tell th e ir story. There was the Hogan brothers
Noel and bassist Mike and drum m er Ferg Lawler.
They had a bunch o f songs - “ soft, nothing heavy, it
wasn’t planned that way, it ’s just the way it came
o u t” - so they advertised fo r a girl singer.
Along came Delores, garlanded w ith awards from
school and church. For the girl w h o ’d sang since four,
the meeting was “ a little miracle” . She was nervous,
they w ere big city (w e’re talking Limerick here)
sophisticates (“ townies” ) and she was only a country
bumpkin. But soon they came round, the magic
clicked, they accepted her lyrics and the songs grew.
“ Most o f them are about myselfH grew up w ith a
lo t o f guys, I felt like I was one o f them. Then I
realised I wasn’t, I got into relationships w ith them
and it was weird. I wanted love straight away, but if I
showed affection they ran away, I had a horrible
experience w ith every one o f them. I couldn’t say
things straight to them so I w ro te them down.
“ But it ’s changed since then. N o w people come
and say I know exactly how you feel. You realise
you’re just the same as everyone else, you’re just
talking about it openly. Guys would just break my
She is mystified th a t people find a Celtic
traditional vibe in The Cranberries’ music. She’d
done the real thing but this is bass, drums, guitar.
N o t traditional. But The Cranberries are growing
o u t o f the first flush o f teen torm ent. There’s the
likes o f ‘Alosa’ (Gaelic fo r Jesus - dedicated to her
dead grandad) and ‘Them ’ about an old family feud “ I can’t ta?
reasonable condemnation o f the Catholic Church,
Delores listens patiently and then begs to differ.
“ I like Ireland the way it is, it w ouldn’t be the way
it is if the Catholic Church didn’t do what they do.
They’re doing a grand job, some people think they
brainwash people, but if the public wanted rid o f
them they’d be gone.”
It’s odd hearing these w ords spoken W IT H
ABSOLUTELY N O IRO NY. This girl is from
Another Green W orld. I venture that the Church o f
Rome have repressive ideas about women.
“ I suppose so, but they’re not the w orst. T here’s
worse in the w orld, women w ith th e ir heads
d is, if you can’t
stand the heat get out o f the kitchen. Young people
complain but if they don’t like it they can lump it. I’m
proud o f my country.”
N oel laughs, nervously. He’s used to it. She often
cries w ith o u t warning, nags him fo r drinking, calls
the band her babies and can eat 26 bags o f crisps a
day. She doesn’t read books, watch TV, movies o r
listen to records. Thinks the Catholic Church is
grand and is proud o f Charlie Haughey’s ludicrous
banana republic. Sings about lust, possession,
capturing the boy o f her dreams. Delores O ’Riordan
- definitely a w eird one.
“EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF O P IN IO N
AND EXPRESSION; THIS RIGHT INCLUDES FREEDOM
TO HOLD O P IN IO N S W ITHOUT INTERFERENCE A N D TO SEEK,
RECEIVE A N D IMPART INFO RM ATIO N A N D IDEAS
THROUGH A N Y M EDIA A N D REGARDLESS OF FRONTIERS”
ARTICLE 19 OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF H U M A N RIGHTS
16 November 1991 New Musical Express— Page 17