Dolores O’Riordan


Album: Are You Listening?


Label: Sanctuary Records

Released: May 15

*** (out of five)

Dolores O’Riordan’s steely voice has not waned with her initial post-Cranberries offering, Are You Listening? However, this record’s appeal may depend on how strongly that vocal allure still lingers on with listeners. The simple songs feel dressed up for drama with ethereal effects, symphonic strains and heavy-drum loops — including several Evanescence-like crescendos into the abyss. Still, it is O’Riordan passionately delivering life and death themes against dark-guitared choruses — likely good enough for fans O’Cran.

Patrick Wolf

Album: The Magic Position

Label: Universal

Released: May 1

** (out of five)

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and all around musical savant, Patrick Wolf composes and performs a mixture of electronica, avant-garde pop and classical arrangements.

Sound wonderful and innovative? It’s neither really. It is, in fact, brooding, pouting and nauseatingly pretentious. The Magic Position starts off with some mildly snappy bubble gum pop, but the album too quickly plunges into a dreary artsy-fartsy self-indulgence that will have you reaching for the Gravol. Stink-a-roo!

Linkin Park

Album: Minutes to Midnight

Label: Warner

Released: May 15

** (out of five)

Manufactured rebels fashionably taking up anti-war anthems — as Linkin Park does on tracks such as with Hands Held High — should be forced to pay royalties to those artists who actually spoke out when it wasn’t popular to do so.

Minutes to Midnight is being sold as risky and experimental, but it sounds painful and bland.

The problem with this effort is that there are far too few Korn-inspired hip-hop, hardcore tracks like Bleed It Out, and far too many corny, sappy emo ballads such as — wait for it — Valentine’s Day.