Following Dolores O'Riordan's unexpected passing in January of 2017, the surviving members of The Cranberries were saddled with the unenviable task of preserving their band's legacy and tying up what loose ends remained.
Dolores died while the band was nearly finished writing, In The End, The Cranberries' final album of new material, available now.
Guitarist Noel Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler dropped by Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke recently to discuss how they were able to complete their band's triumphant final chapter.
While The Cranberries hadn't entered the studio to record In The End before Dolores died, she had been demoing her own vocals at home since mid-2017. Hogan and Lawler say the band was only able to complete the album because Dolores' performances on the demos were so well thought out and pristine.
Even with an album’s worth of songs, and some potential from Dolores' high-quality demos, Lawler and the Hogans, Mike and Noel, needed a second opinion. The trio looped in producer Stephen Street, sending him what they had and explaining their reservations about moving forward without Dolores.
Street quickly expressed his support for the album, but added a stern warning, which the band took to heart.
"And it was him, then, who said, ‘Look. One thing I would suggest is that you do this now because it may not feel the same, coming back to it in a year or whatever,’” Noel recalls.
Ultimately, pressing ahead and finishing the album amounted to closure on the band’s career. And Dolores' family was quick to offer its blessing.
“Dolores had been speaking about the new album [at home]," Lawler recalls. "She was excited about doing new material for the first time since 2012, and they knew that. When they heard that we wanted to finish what she’d started, they were delighted, really.
He continued: “…You don’t want to offend anybody; you don’t want to be disrespectful. That’s the way we felt, as well. We had to make sure that these songs were going to be really good quality and not, like, a half-assed attempt to milk it or something. We wanted to make sure they were good, quality songs and it was going to be a good, proper Cranberries album.“
And that's exactly what In The End is.
When the band was piecing together Dolores’ parts, there was no taking for granted how gifted a singer she was. Noel says the lack of pre-production actually payed off, giving In The End an intimate feel that longtime fans will appreciate.
“It’s probably as close to those first couple of albums that we’ve ever come again," he says. "I think a lot of it has to do with the way Dolores’ vocal is on this album. There’s a softer, kind of, tone to her voice."
Watch the full interview above.
Here's the official music video for "All Over Now":